Detroit Lions head coach Dan Campbell spoke to the media Friday afternoon less than 24 hours after his team went into Lambeau Field Thursday night and beat the Packers, 34-20, to improve to 3-1 on the season and take over sole possession of first place in the NFC North.
Here are all the key questions to come out of Campbell’s media session:
How does Campbell guard against higher expectations and going from the hunter to the hunted moving forward?
Campbell said it’s great to be 3-1 and his team is playing with a lot of confidence right now, but the message from him and the coaching staff continues to be playing the role of the hunter.
“If you’re hunting us you don’t have to look far,” he said. “We’ll be on your front porch when you open the door. That’s very much the mindset. We still have a lot to prove. We want to win this division and we’ve done nothing yet. We’re on course, we like where we’re at, but we are still hungry.”
Campbell said the message has been clear dating back to the spring that they still have plenty to improve on and have to continue to earn everything they get.
What’s been the biggest catalyst behind the defensive performance to start the year?
It really starts upfront. Detroit generated 18 quarterback hurries in Green Bay and 14 came from the defensive line. Same story last week vs. Atlanta with 11 of their 13 hurries coming from the d-line. That while also playing the run at a historically good clip to begin the year.
“There were so many instances last night with guys being unselfish doing exactly what they were supposed to be doing and when that happens, man, we all eat,” Campbell said.
The defensive line has done a terrific job especially the last two weeks of playing off each other and playing disciplined football. When the big guys upfront do that they take a lot of stress off the back end of the defense.
It allows defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn to mix up some coverages and do some different things because the quarterback pressure and containment of the run game is all starting upfront.
“No matter what you are in you feel like your front can handle the run but also play pass we’re able to shed some blocks and create pressure,” Campbell said. “Look, they are playing really good football right now. They are very disciplined. And they are playing hard, man. We look physical, we look violent and that’s the type of defense we want.”
Any updates on a couple players eligible to come off PUP and NFI this week?
Veteran edge rusher Julian Okwara is eligible to come off PUP if the team wants to start his 21-day practice window next week. The same goes for rookie quarterback Hendon Hooker on NFI. Campbell said they haven’t decided on any roster status change with either player as of yet.
“Brad (Holmes) and I have talked a little bit about it but we’re not ready to commit as to what we want to do just yet on that,” he said. “We’re going to kind of gauge this as we go through the week and think about what Carolina presents to us but also just long term.”
How did the Lions come out of Thursday’s game on the injury front?
Campbell said Friday it didn’t appear rookie Brian Branch‘s ankle injury was too serious. Branch left the game, returned and then left again late due to the injury. Campbell said they’ll have to see what it looks like early next week when they return to on-field activities, but at this point it doesn’t appear to be serious.
Left tackle Taylor Decker played Thursday with a high ankle sprain and bone bruise and gutted through the game.
“I’ll tell you what, Decker did a hell of a job,” Campbell said. “He was not 100 percent and man he helped us win that game. Talk about being unselfish and just giving us what he’s got. He battled over there, man. We appreciate the hell out of him.”
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