LIONS HEAD COACH DAN CAMPBELL QUOTE SHEET (VIA ZOOM)


Opening Statement:
 “First of all, that was the best defensive performance we’ve had to date, and particularly in the secondary I thought we did a really good job. Certainly, the one that hurts us is the drive at the end of the game that you’ve got to seal the deal on that. When your defense is playing as good as they were, they can’t allow that one because that was the type of game that was going to, but we’ll learn from it. And offensively, it’s what’s continued to show. We came out and we started the game pretty good. We got a field goal, we ended the half with a field goal, and we ended the game the way you want to end it, but all in between was not good, particularly two turnovers in the red zone. But when we needed it most at the end of that game, we found a way to produce 11 points. There again, there are positives and negatives.”
On if the defensive coverage on the last drive of the game yesterday is hard for young players to execute: “I think Jerry (Jacobs) was pretty good. What they do – they’re chumming. They’re throwing out bait and you’ve got an underneath receiver who’s trying to make you bite on it and in the first one A.J. (Parker) bit on it and then they threw the dagger right behind him. They’re trying to get chunks and they got one there and he’ll learn from that. He’ll learn from that. (Defensive Coordinator Aaron Glenn) AG will be the first one to tell you we were trying to help more to (Vikings WR Justin Jefferson) 18 than we were (Vikings WR Adam) Thielen. It’s easy to say in hindsight, ‘We should have tilted the other way,’ but then we’d be all upset if 18 hurt us. It’s one of those things that we’ve got to learn from because if we just sync on that play and make them dump it down, Jerry’s going to make the play for a 10-yard gain, and they’re going to use a timeout, and they’ve really gained nothing significant to get it into field goal range.”
On if WR Quintez Cephus’ has an injury to his collarbone: “I will confirm that. Yes, he does. We’ll know a lot more this afternoon as it pertains to how long he’s going to be out. Certainly, this will be – this is weeks and weeks and that’s if we get him back for the season. But, he’s out for a significant amount of time, if not the whole season.”
On if he is hopeful to get some players on Injured/Reserve back this week: “I think there’s hope. We’re going to see where (Taylor) Decker is at Wednesday, at least that’s where we’ll begin. We know (Kevin) Strong is back. I would say Hand is probably a little further away right now, and then we’ll know more on Tyrell after tomorrow as well.”
On how they can work TE T.J. Hockenson back into the offensive game plan: “We’ve got to get him going. We definitely need to get him going. And look, some of it – he was coming off of the injury, he was a little banged up, he didn’t practice until Friday, and when you put in a lot for a guy and then he’s not able to practice until Friday, things can get a little out of whack. So, there were a couple of things that showed up, couple of just timing issues if you will. That’s the give and take you have for a guy that you know is going to play or you think can play, but he doesn’t practice. That didn’t help things. And then I know he wishes he’d have a couple of those balls back, but the bottom line is we’ve got to get him going. That’s the bottom line because he can help us win. That’s going to be a focal point for us.”
On who has been the most improved player on the team: “That’s pretty good. Probably (Jalen) Reeves-Maybin is one of the first ones that stands out because he played so much special teams and landed at linebacker. He’s – over the last three weeks, he’s just gotten better and better and he makes plays. He’s productive for us. He’d be one of the first ones that stands out in my head if you’re asking. Look, (Halapoulivaati Vaitai) Big V – I thought Big V played his best game yesterday. I know he was hurt last year, but he was on the roster and so I thought he’s really shown up and settled in at right guard.”
On if S Tracy Walker has earned the trust to be an every-down player: “Well, he certainly made a case yesterday. That’s the Tracy that we know and have been waiting to come out of his shell. I’ll tell you what, he played confident, he played physical, and he communicated well. It was great to see because he did. He played like a top-notch safety yesterday. He was a factor. You felt his presence. I would say just overall, I think he – I think you could feel Will (Harris)’s presence, but Trey Flowers, Alex Anzalone, and (Jalen Reeves-Maybin) JRM, you really felt those guys. They really showed up. But yeah, I would agree, Tracy played well.”
On the decision to make CB Daryl Worley inactive yesterday: “That was really to get (Shane) Zylstra up to help us in case – we didn’t know where (T.J.) Hockenson was totally going to be at, so we wanted to have some insurance at tight end and we knew he could help us on special teams. That’s where that spot went. It was more of a special teams decision than anything else. We still like Worley.”
On whether T Taylor Decker will practice at left or right tackle: “We may put him at center and move Evan Brown to left tackle (laughs). That’s a good question. I think right now, the thought would be to move Decker back into his slot at left tackle and move Penei (Sewell) back to right tackle. That would be – that’s tentatively what I think is the way that we’re talking about going. We’ll have a meeting this afternoon to really dive into all of that stuff. We’re still cleaning up the game, but we will – that’s where I think we would lean certainly.”
On T Penei Sewell giving up two sacks yesterday: “I think – when he got in that game early, he was getting out of his stance so fast, but he was oversetting it. Look, (Vikings DE Everson) Griffen is – he’s still got plenty of curveballs left. Now, he might not be able to play 60 plays a game, but for the 20 he goes in there, he’s got some rush ability and he’s a different type of rusher. He’s low to the ground. What’s funny is he’s totally different than what (Bears LB Robert) Quinn was last week. I go back to – every one of these looks he gets, he’s going to be better for it. Now, he’s got to be able to adjust a lot faster than he did in that game. It took him a while and then he thought he had him and then he got beat. I do think we’ve got to do some things to help him just a little bit to get him going again. I do think he’ll learn to be good for – look, I can tell last week, I knew he wanted to play just because he wanted redemption. That’s the way he’s built and I love that about him. Like, he was mad and I know he’ll be mad about this and if you talk about giving him help, he’ll be pissed off about that like, ‘I don’t need help.’ But I do think we need to just settle him back in. We’ll get him going here, but I love the way he’s built and he will, he’ll be better for it.”
On if QB Jared Goff is being aggressive enough and the balance between taking care of the ball and pushing it downfield: “I think he’s trying to take chances, sometimes at a fault. I think he’s trying to get it down field sometimes when maybe he ought to just go to the first look. Look, one of those yesterday – ‘(T.J.) Hockenson’s open on a hitch, just throw the hitch and then we won’t have the issue – we don’t have the sack fumble. Just take what’s there, we like it, and that’s what it’s for if they’re going to play off and then we don’t even have that mess.’ Now, (Penei) Sewell got beat on it, but – yeah, I mean, there again, I think we’ve got to do a better job of finding a way to push it down the field because – I know this has been said, but – explosives, they had seven in their offense. We had five; four were passes, one was run. Well, three of those for us were run after catch. That’s a hard way to live trying to get explosives and hoping you can get a guy that can break it every time they get ball, you’re catching an eight-yard route and then trying to bust it down field. I think we have to do a better job as a staff of designing some of these shots, protecting him and getting it downfield. I think we have to do a better job of protecting. And when I say that, I think that’s the protection plan as well because he can throw it. Now, he’s got to take care of the football because this has shown up again and it’s, ‘Here we go, we’re in the red zone and, why are we struggling to get touchdowns early in the half because we get in the red zone and we turn the ball over? Otherwise, we might score, or we should score.’ But I think there are a number of things we can help him with, too, to help our whole offense with.”
On if problems with plays on offense are due to a lack of execution: “There are some, but I don’t think that’s the issue. Look, yesterday we took a shot to (Kalif Raymond) Lif, it was the one where (Vikings S) Harrison (Smith) drops it. Well, that thing got long. He got pushed so far out of the pocket, by the time he was able to set his feet, that’s tough. They had a long time to stare it down, but really, the protection didn’t allow him to set his feet, so he’s trying to get so far out of the box that by the time he does, now he’s all over it, so then he’s wanting to make a play, ‘Let’s try to get it up and down.’ So, I just think we have to do a better job just with our run action, protection, our plan, I think just with our drop backs and bumps and nudges, ‘Let’s protect him up and let him look down the field and make some throws and then let’s find a way to help our guys get some releases here, too.’ I just think we have to be creative and really think about, ‘How can we help our guys and really maximize what they have?’”
On if his frustration with the screen pass on third-and-6 in the fourth quarter was from the play in particular: “That’s the one we threw – I think we threw the ball out to left, didn’t we? We didn’t block that properly. That’s an easy first down. We didn’t block it right. We work it all week and look, here’s the thing that frustrates you is that – well, (Quintez) Cephus was hurt and he was one of the receivers that was in on that all week. But that’s – every receiver works that and you have to know that if this happens and I’m in this position, and by the way, this is how we block this, how we did it all week. And then so if we don’t do that properly and it’s an easy throw and catch, make a play, get out of dodge, we don’t have to deal with the pressure and all of this crap, it’s frustrating. Honestly, you can’t design it any better and we just didn’t execute and it frustrates you.”
On if there is a limit to how deep he goes into the depth chart before he starts to scale back play calls because of injuries: “I still think we – here’s what I do think, I don’t think we have to crop what we’re doing because of the guys that are here or aren’t here. Look, with the guys that we still have here in the building, plus Tom Kennedy, plus Geronimo Allison who’s on our vet squad, I feel pretty good. I don’t think that limits us. What I do think we need to do is really curtail the verbiage of our offense and how do we really crop it down to where these guys get a visual picture of what the play is within two or three words, or a number, instead of – we’ve got some long verbiage and between a wristband and giving it to the players and getting it repeated and they hear it and then all of a sudden you have injuries, I think we’re not helping ourselves there and I think – all of us, I think we can do a better job. Even if that takes a little bit of pressure, a little bit of time to where you can get up to the line and function quickly and see what’s going on and I know where to go, I just think that will help. I think that’s what we’re really looking at.”
 
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