Newly appointed Detroit Lions head coach Dan Campbell and his ah-rah introductory speech seems to have ruffled the National media, in turn, firmly entering the organization into rare waters; the National spotlight.
After mixed reviews a day after his animated introductory speech, Campbell felt the need to explain himself, and to me, it was very unnecessary.
Sure his ‘we will bite your kneecap off’ speech was not something you hear every day; it was no ordinary PR prepared speech, it was raw, and it allowed us to get a glimpse of who Campbell really is.
We’ve heard players say the man will motivate you, and be someone you’d choose to run through a wall for; now we know why that is. He’s clearly a motivator, and as he’s said, he’s not committed to a specific scheme. Unlike Patricia, Campbell will help in all areas but, more importantly, oversee and manage the football game. Campbell will allow his coordinators the freedom to do their jobs. Campbell has surrounded himself with a bright defensive mind in Aaron Glenn to run the defense along with a very experienced offensive mind with head coaching experience in Anthony Lynn to call the Detroit offense.
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The National media isn’t just frequently negative; it tries to make something out of nothing for headlines, clickbait, and quite frankly holding out for a reaction.
Colin Cowherd recently compared Campbell’s interview to Adam Gase’s on his show The Herd. Cowherd mentioned he felt the Detroit Lions opted to do a 180 from their last hire. Colin mentioned the organization must have seen something in Matt Patricia to grant him a job, as he went on to acknowledge that he’s a rocket scientist. So why hire someone who is exactly the opposite?
Here is the thing, it’s clear that GM Bob Quinn signed Patricia. There wasn’t the same elaborate, in-depth search as was conducted this time around. Quinn and Patricia clearly had New England ties, and I believe Patricia was the only candidate seriously considered preceding the hire.
Cowherd went on with his remarks mentioning that the Detroit Lions hired a professional wrestler to be their head coach, and no elite NFL coach talks about breaking knee caps and taking a bite out of people.
Here’s the comment that is being mocked not only by Cowherd but also on the Tonight Show hosted by Jimmy Fallon and Jemele Hill, who writes for The Atlantic.
"“This place has been kicked, it’s been battered, it’s been bruised, and I can sit up here and give you coach speak all day long,” Campbell said. “I can give you, ‘Hey, we’re going to win this many games.’ None of that matters and you guys don’t want to hear it anyway. You’ve had enough of that shit, excuse my language.“Here’s what I do know, is that this team is going to take on the identity of this city. And this city’s been down and it found way to get up. It’s found a way to overcome adversity. So this team’s going to be built on: we’re going to kick you in the teeth, all right, and when you punch us back, we’re going to smile at you and when you knock us down, we’re going to get up, and on the way up, we’re going to bite a knee cap off. And we’re going to stand up and then it’s going to take two more shots to knock us down. And on the way up, we’re going to take your other kneecap, and we’re going to get up and then it’s going to take three shots to get us down. And when we do, we’re going to take another hunk out of you. Before long, we’re going to be the last one standing. That’s going to be the mentality.”"
As Dan Campbell gave Detroit Lions fans something to be motivated about, the media tried to squash it.
Coach Campbell felt the need to clarify who his audience was directed too here in an article published by the Detroit Free Press;
"“No offense to anybody else that’s outside of this community, my message was for our players and for our community, for Motown,” Campbell said on NFL Network. “That to me was who I needed to reach. It wasn’t about, no offense, everybody outside of this community.“I’m (not) trying to reach New York and Dallas and Los Angeles. That didn’t mean anything to me. I knew that this was the community that I was speaking to, and I felt like what do you give them something that — I wanted them to have a piece of me but I wanted them to know that, man, I get it.”"
Before his introductory presser, Campbell identified his audience, and he perfectly played to the folks of Detroit. He was correct in saying this city has been through this process far too many times.
Please don’t read too much into this, sure it was an entertaining speech, something many people in this hardworking, blue-collar city can get behind, but the fans will hold Campbell accountable. Let’s be very clear; it’s a put-up or shut-up fan base.
The fans of the Detroit Lions and the city of Detroit are tired of win projections. Fans want results. Sure we’d like to know the plan, but why tell the world your plan? We’re educated; we can see it unfold. We should have a perfect idea in Campbell’s second year what the Lions will be.
Now, all we can do is prepare for the media circus mocking the organization because quarterback Matthew Stafford and the Lions have mutually agreed to part ways and will be fielding trade offers for his services.