Detroit Lions coach Dan Campbell has been known to drop some of the best sound clips. Whether it was during “Hard Knocks,” a typical Wednesday press conference, or a mic’d up session, Campbell always has something insightful, honest, or funny to say.
On Thursday night after Detroit pulled off a 21-20 upset of the Kansas City Chiefs, Campbell was asked what he learned about his team after that gutsy performance. His answer was perfect.
“I didn’t learn anything,” Campbell said. “I got verification on what I already knew.”
“This is a resilient team, “ Campbell continued. “It already was a resilient team and we added pieces to that resilient team. We’re built to handle some stuff and we did that today against a very good opponent.”
And if that were too subtle for you, Campbell just went out and said what he really meant answering the next question.
“We expected to win this game,” Campbell said. “We came in here, we knew what we needed to do and we knew it wasn’t going to be easy and we did that.”
The bar has been raised. This Lions team no longer looks at a game like this as a contest where everything has to fall in their favor. They view themselves as the favorites. They view themselves as the team you have to play a perfect game against.
That isn’t to say it was a flawless performance from the Lions. It was anything but that. There were drops, an ill-timed turnover, and an offense that failed to move the ball for long periods of the game. But Campbell pointed out that he thinks the team is well-rounded enough so that when one unit struggles, there are several others to help carry them through the game.
“If one (unit) at any given time is struggling a little bit, the other two will bail them out,” Campbell said. “That happened today. All the units stepped up when we needed them most, and I’m proud of those guys, I’m proud of the staff. I think our defense really showed up today.”
Campbell drove the point home in the team’s post-game speech to the team:
“Did we expect to win that game?” Campbell asked the room. “We did and that’s exactly what we did, because we’re built that fucking way, and everything we talked about was how it went down.”
But most important to Campbell was to move forward and clean up a messy game.
“We got a ton to clean up when we come back, but until then, fucking enjoy this.”
You heard the man. We’ve got a whole weekend ahead of us. Enjoy it.