Dan Campbell deserves his roses.
Reading this at first might be a bit jarring. After all, the Detroit Lions are 0-6. And there’s no such thing as moral victories for trying to change a culture. Because in the case of the Lions, an actual culture change involves winning. So he shouldn’t get a cookie for that.
He should deserve a pat on the back for something else, however.
And that’s not playing dumb. Campbell acknowledged the elephant in the room on Friday afternoon–––one that Jared Goff didn’t want to.
Sunday’s Lions-Rams game is personal.
Now initially, most may think of the obvious reasons why.
After all, this game has two of the NFL’s most intriguing storylines this season––Matthew Stafford and Jared Goff’s first games against their former teams. It’s such a hot conversation, especially when you factor in all of the details.
However, Sunday is more significant than that.
It’s not only about Goff returning to LA or Stafford facing Detroit. It’s also about Brad Holmes, Ray Agnew, Aubrey Pleasant, and Michael Brockers. Because of Sunday, those four men, along with Goff, will be returning to LA for the first time since joining the Lions organization.
With Sunday also being a “return home” game for them and Goff, Dan Campbell addressed if any of them mentioned the significance of Sunday.
“They haven’t said one word about,” said Campbell as he cracked a smile talking to reporters. The sarcasm he displayed in this most was incredible. It was a textbook use of the literary device to the point the pool of reporters in attendance got a chuckle out of it.
As Campbell nodded his head in laughter, he gathered himself before delivering his following words.
“Yeah. So, listen. Everybody’s ready for this one. We’re excited,” said Campbell. “I’ll leave it at that.”
Bravo, Dan, Bravo.
See, Campbell was wise to “leave it at that” like he said because his non-verbals spoke more than volumes than his words could. The Detroit Lions want to kick the Rams a** on Sunday.
And there’s no PC way to describe it other than that.
Jared Goff and Michael Brockers left LA under less than favorable terms. Both have expressed their disdain for how things played out, with Goff speaking as recently as Wednesday.
“There was some disrespect felt toward the end,” Goff said on Wednesday. “There was some sourness there toward the end, and you still feel that. You still have that chip on your shoulder.”
He mentioned the disrespect he felt on his way out of LA. Don’t you think he wants a win? Brockers talked about his contract situation and how things could’ve played out if he left the Rams previous if he went to the Ravens. While he feels he has a purpose in Detroit, don’t you think this is a revenge game for him?
In the case of Brad Holmes, Ray Agnew, and Aubrey Pleasant, there are no signs they disdain or ill-feelings for the Rams. However, wouldn’t it look good on them to get their first in Detroit against their former team?
The answer is yes. Of course, it would.
Holmes and Agnew left the Rams for higher positions with the Lions, accepting the general and assistant general manager duties respectively. Pleasant essentially left the Rams for a lateral position as secondary coach, but he now has the passing game coordinator role as well. While they didn’t leave on bad terms, it’s safe to surmise they want to walk out with a victory. After all, so far, the Rams are 5-1. And none of the mentioned men can show LA what they’re missing yet.
Whether the Detroit Lions win any other game this season, winning on Sunday vs. the Rams would be their most important one. Without saying much, Dan Campbell grins, laughs, and head nods on Friday confirmed it.
So, thank you, Dan Campbell. Thank you for not insulting the intelligence of the people and acknowledging the elephant in the room.
Follow Kory Woods on Twitter at KoryEWoods.