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Notes: Must-see interview between former teammates Dan Campbell, Jason Garrett

NFL on NBC posted video of a wonderful conversation between Campbell and former Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett.

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Green Bay Packers vs Detroit Lions Photo by Jorge Lemus/NurPhoto via Getty Images

There was lots of Dan Campbell video content this week, starting on Thursday with an interview posted by NFL on NBC featuring the Detroit Lions head coach and a familiar face as interviewer: former Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett. The first part of the interview shows the pair reminiscing about their time together as players on the New York Giants (2000-2002), but the connection with Garrett extended beyond their playing days. Back in 2011, Garrett already saw Campbell’s future in coaching and interviewed him to possibly move over from being a coaching intern in Miami to join his staff in Dallas. Although Campbell ended up staying in Miami to coach tight ends that year, down the line when coach Campbell took over as interim head coach in 2015 it was no surprise to Garrett:

“I love Dan Campbell,” Garrett said. “We had the good fortune of playing together in New York for a few years and he’s a really good friend of mine and someone that I just have great admiration for and respect for. He was an outstanding teammate, he’s exactly what you want in a teammate and just brought so much to the table in both his performance, but just the way he went about it every day. I was so excited when he got into coaching because I really believed he could bring a lot to the people around him — not only the coaching staff, but to the young guys he has the opportunity to coach. I’m not surprised one bit that he’s had the success that he’s had.”

Over a nearly 15-minute interview at the Lions’ indoor practice facility, the two discussed Campbell’s road to head coaching and his growth as a coach. They talked about the linkages between his approach as a player and how that translates into how the team leadership wants to shape the Lions roster. The response from the former NFL tight end is fantastic:

“I would say: guys like me. When it pertains to the way you play the game, the style of play, trying to be detailed and disciplined. All that.

Yeah that, but with talent. (Garrett laughs)

You know? I didn’t have all this talent, but man I think that’s the key. How do we build a roster of guys that think about the game the way I did, have love for the game the way I did and love the grind, right? But man, they got some talent.

So I think that’s always the starting point for myself and for Brad Holmes.”

For a good part of the interview, Garrett expands on this by asking about the grit mentality in the building, the confidence to stay the course even after a tough start in Detroit. About halfway in, he switches gears to talk about the specific units. First the offense with Jared Goff and the changes to the running backs room, and then the changes on defense aimed at improving on last year’s statistics. To wrap up in the last third of the interview, they move on to talk about managing expectations and looking ahead to the Week 1 opener against the current Super Bowl champions. It’s a great discussion that doesn’t take a lot of time but covers a ton of ground. You can watch the entire video on YouTube.

By the way, Sir Charles is all in on the Lions because he likes what he sees in the leadership. “When I’m watching Dan Campbell, I’m like I want a do-over. I want to play for that dude.”

Following Friday’s big preseason game, the team posted almost seven minutes of post-game media interview with head coach Dan Campbell:

Coach Campbell was happy with the way the offensive line reserves responded and played with better communication against the twist game from Carolina’s defensive line than they did against Jacksonville. He was pleased with how Teddy Bridgewater demonstrated good command of the offense with a good flow. Asked about the approaching roster cutdowns, he said “it’s getting that much harder. I mean, we’re going to have to let go of some really good players, and that’s tough. It’s tough to do, but it also means that there’s growth and that the talent level has gone up.”

Finally, a fun find that Brandon Knapp on our staff pointed out to me is an eight minute video on YouTube from professional wrestler Sheamus from the WWE. The Celtic Warrior Workout camera crew followed him around when he visited Lions training camp on August 5 as part of SummerSlam weekend’s promotional events. While it’s fun to see the wrestling fans among the Lions players get to meet and mug it up with a WWE superstar, even more hilarious is how Campbell is actually bigger than Sheamus when they are standing next to each other (at 3:02 in the video). Campbell points out he’s only bigger in terms of height, but at 7:08 when they shake hands it kind of looks like coach really is just as pumped up as the four-time World Heavyweight Champion!

Now, on to the rest of your weekend Notes:

  • In case anyone was wondering:

  • You’ve seen Erik’s 53-man roster projection. Now check out Meko’s in this 26-minute video on our Pride of Detroit YouTube channel:

  • Ben Johnson is really good at finding ways to get the Sun God into favorable situations (hat tip to Tej Seth for spotting and reposting this one):

  • NFL analyst Brian Baldinger posted some short film bits on Twitter from the third preseason game:

  • It’s so easy to root for these players.

  • NFL on CBS’ Ben Fennell noticed something really nice in the secondary on the combo sack by James Houston and Romeo Okwara:

  • The good folks at the Lions social media team assembled a highlight reel from all of the mic’d up footage accumulated over training camp. Get ready for non-stop bangers from Jared Goff, Will Harris, Kalif Raymond, Cam Sutton, Alim McNeill, and Dan Campbell plus innocent bystanders caught on camera like offensive lineman Brad Cecil:

  • The Athletic’s Jeff Howe wrote that “Dan Campbell has resurgent Lions on the right path — and it starts with attitude.” (Subscription required)

  • Lions players this week offered some shoutouts to their college programs:

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After winning their first NFC North title in 30 years, the Lions have unfinished business this offseason. Stay updated with Jeremy Reisman through Pride of Detroit Direct, our newsletter offering up exclusive analysis. Sign up with NFCNORTH30 to get 30% off after your free trial.