There’s a common theme surrounding the Detroit Lions this season. It’s one that media members are co-signing, as well as the fanbase. That theme is the Lions will be a bad football team this. Despite those projections, Dan Campbell is embracing the narrative. 

On Tuesday morning, Campbell made his weekly appearance on the Lions’ flagship radio station. During the interview, Campbell fielded a question regarding the mentioned narrative and whether his team embraces the underdog role. 

“You like being an underdog. Who doesn’t?” said Campbell. “I think being counted out, it does kind of motivate you a little bit. Now at the same token, [and] I mentioned this yesterday. You can do all that talk you want, and you can think that way, but if you don’t prepare properly, none of that matters.”

Dan Campbell
Detroit Lions head coach Dan Campbell talks to players during warm-ups before the preseason game Friday, Aug, 13, 2021 against Buffalo Bills at Ford Field in Detroit.

“We can go through and play the ‘Well we have no respect, and nobody cares about us,’ but if we don’t handle our business and figure out a way to stop this running attack with our defense or if we don’t find a way to get efficient yards on first/second down on offense, none of that matters. It’s just lip service.”

“That’ll be in the back of our minds. We got something to prove, but more importantly, we got a job to do. And you got to focus on the job that’s right in front of you.”

Strong words from Campbell.

And Dan Campbell isn’t lying about the Lions’ rush defense. 

The Lions allowed an average of 119 yards per game during the preseason. The most glaring display to back Campbell’s theory was the Lions preseason finale. The Lions’ defense gave up 165 yards on the ground to the Colts. 

Deon Jackson starred in that game for the Colts. He had ten carries for 81 yards and one touchdown, averaging 8.1 yards per rush. 

It wasn’t a pretty sight to see by any stretch of the imagination. 

Bills running back Devin Singletary had his way with the Lions’ defense as well in the preseason opener. He had eight carries for 42 yards, averaging 5.2 yards per rush. Singletary’s outing wasn’t as glaring as Jackson’s if you focus solely on the stats. There were several runs from Singeltary that made the Lions’ defense look silly. 

The Lions have several days to get things together before facing the 49ers at Ford Field on Sunday. And judging by the 49ers’ rushing attack in the preseason, they’ll need to. 

Over the preseason, the 49ers averaged 188.3 rushing yards per game. Raheem Mostert and JaMychal Hasty lead what many expect to be a dynamic running back unit this season. 

Sunday will be a massive test for the Lions’ rush defense and the underdog mentality Campbell’s embracing. 

During the same interview mentioned above, he also stated that Michael Brockers (along with D’Andre Swift) will play vs. the 49ers. Brockers returning will be a key addition for the Lions’ defense.

Follow Kory Woods on Twitter at KoryEWoods.

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By Published On: September 7th, 2021Categories: NFL

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