From Terry Foster: Lions got that Chris Spielman dog mentality
It’s not all about culture with the Detroit Lions.
That’s one thing we learned during three days of drafting, swapping, posturing and reorganizing. If you want to be a Detroit Lions you must also have that dog in you.
That’s why running back D’Andre Swift is out and why rookie linebacker Jack Campbell is in. The Lions brass have made it clear in the clothing they wear what it takes to be a Detroit Lion.
Let’s go through the list.
Grit. Villain. One pride.
If you have these traits you are in the club. If you don’t then GM Brad Holmes is shipping you out. It’s the my way or the highway mentality that keeps players on edge, but in this case makes them better. No one is safe around here. Just ask T.J. Hockenson and now Swift.
The Lions determined that Swift does not have that dog in him. That’s why they swapped seventh round picks with the Philadelphia Eagles Saturday and obtained a 2025 fourth rounder. Holmes is sometimes the grim reaper, but he does his job with a bit of compassion.
He did not ship Swift to Siberia as many mean spirits GMs would do. He sent him to his hometown and a Super Bowl contender. Swift still has a chance to be great. Maybe he needs a change of scenery and more luck in staying healthy.
Or maybe he don’t have that dog in him. The Lions grew tired of finding out.
He’s got talent. Swift averaged 5.5 yards per carry last season. That’s at a higher clip than Barry Sanders produced in seven of his 10 Hall of Fame seasons. The problem is Swift could not stay healthy. And when he was the Lions kept him incased in bubble wrap.
He carried the ball just 99 times and averaged 7.1 carries per game. He only reached double digit carries in three games. The Lions treated him like a piece of precious porcelain. Then Holmes put on his villain sweat shirt and ended the madness.
When you look back on the 2023 NFL Draft the Lions brought in guys who were maybe a little slow or with short arms and flat feet. But many were former team captains, guys with grit and mostly they had that dog in them.
Here is what Jack Campbell told the media when he was introduced to Lions nation.
“I just went in there and tried to be who I am and obviously they gravitated toward that in that formal interview,” Campbell said about his meetings with the Lions in the pre-draft process. “What they’re all about, I’m all about, and that’s just a genuine passion for the game of football and just getting to win and an opportunity to go out there and compete.
“Kind of an old-school, blue-collar mindset and that’s maybe what they liked about me. I feel like that’s a perfect fit for Detroit.”
If I didn’t know better I’d swear this was former linebacker Chris Spielman speaking as a young man. He came into meetings breathing fire. Spielman was always a nice guy off the field, but he did not tolerate nonsense and he was so focused on the task at hand, he was oblivious to the world around him.
We talk a lot about this team being molded in Dan Campbell’s image. I won’t argue that. But Holmes is bringing in a lot of Spielman dogs.
For more from the author Terry Foster, check him out on Twitter here: @terryfosterdet
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