The Detroit Lions opted to rest almost all of their starters for Saturday’s game against the Jacksonville Jaguars. In fact, even some Lions rookies had the afternoon off, including first-round pick Jahmyr Gibbs and second-round picks Sam LaPorta and Brian Branch. Detroit opted to protect their highly-drafted players.
There was one exception, though. First-round linebacker Jack Campbell not only played against the Jaguars, but he was still in the game into the third quarter.
Per PFF, Campbell logged a total of 32 defensive snaps in the second preseason game—more than any other Lions linebacker on Saturday. The reasoning for Campbell’s high rate of playing time was pretty simple. As coach Dan Campbell explained, most of the other highly-drafted rookies logged significant reps during joint practices with the Jaguars this week. Jack Campbell, mostly repping with the second team, didn’t get that opportunity.
So it was important for Jack Campbell, who figures to be a huge part of this team’s long-term plan, to get up to NFL speed as soon as he can.
“Let’s let him go a little bit. Let’s let him play,” Dan Campbell said. “He is—man, speed of the game, picking it up, playing faster and we feel like the more he plays, the more we’re going to see out of it.”
Jack Campbell is currently in a competition for the starting MIKE linebacker spot with third-year player Derrick Barnes. Despite the rookie mostly repping with second-team during training camp, Dan Campbell expressed his confidence in the entire room.
“Really love that room, really like it a lot where it’s going,” Dan Campbell said. “I started with love and then went to like. Really love it, still love it. Now, we have a ton of confidence in all those guys and I feel like the room, as a whole, they all bring something different, and they all just continue to get better, I feel like every day. Barnes is playing at a high level. I feel like Jack has gotten better every time he’s gone out there and suited up.”
Jack Campbell finished Saturday with a team-leading seven tackles and currently leads the entire team with 11 total tackles this preseason.