Now that the New Orleans Saints are knocked out of the NFL after the season ends, the Detroit Lions are expected to appoint assistant Saints coach / narrow end coach Dan Campbell as their new head coach, sources told ESPN’s Adam Shifter.
The two sides still need to reach an agreement, but it is not an obstacle, and Campbell is the main coach the Lions plan to hire, sources told Shifter.
Campbell will replace Matt Patricia, who was fired in November after less than three seasons with the franchise and scored 13-29-1 as the club tries to re-appoint from last place in NFC North for the past three years.
The 44-year-old Campbell, who has never been a co-ordinator for the NFL, is seen as a catalyst and someone who can pull the team together instead of a mentor of X’s and O. The Lions were looking for people they considered united throughout their research as they identified the qualities they considered A mission to build a winner of a franchise that earned one win in the Super Bowl era playoff title and claimed its last title in 1993.
“I think leadership and someone can work with the general manager,” said Team Leader Rod Wood earlier this month. “ And someone who has experience either as a head coach or you can offer this experience as a moderator to become a head coach, and really dive into these types of questions.
“It’s not that we didn’t do it looking for Matt, but I think we’re trying to do it differently, and hopefully we’ll find the right people.”
Campbell doesn’t have much experience as head coach, but Lions have clearly seen enough to pair him with newly appointed General Manager Brad Holmes. With no experience calling up playing on either side of the ball, whoever Campbell attends as coordinator will be of the utmost importance to his success.
After hiring, among the first decisions he and Holmes will have to make about the future of the star-wide receiver is Kenny Golday, Which is set to be a free agent in March, and quarterback Matthew Stafford, Whose contract extends through the 2022 season. Campbell may also have to decide on a former teammate, the Long Snapper. Don Mühlbach, Who before contracting Campbell was the team’s last contact with the club, which did not achieve any victory in 2008 and is the second tallest player in the team’s history, behind kicker Jason Hanson.
Campbell played 10 seasons in the NFL, including the last three years of his career with Lions.
After his playing career ended after a season of injured reserves with the Saints, Campbell began his coaching career with the Miami Dolphin as a coaching coach in 2010 before working his way up to the tight-knit team coach and then, after Joe Philipin was sacked from Miami in 2015, is an interim coach for the last 12 Game that season.
Campbell went 5-7 with the Dolphins but never earned the full-time job and instead landed with the Saints, having spent the past five seasons under coach Sean Payton. Learning under Payton’s management should he get another full-time opportunity was part of why Campbell went to New Orleans.
“I’d like to tell you it was # 2 on the list,” Campbell told ESPN’s Mike Triplett in 2018. “Number 1, I know Sean and I have a history with Sean. So I got to know him as a person and as a coach. So, being together with him means the world.”
The Lions team has interviewed at least six job candidates: new Atlanta Falcons coach Arthur Smith, New York Gates coach Robert Saleh, former Cincinnati Bengals coach Marvin Lewis, Kansas City attack coordinator Eric Binemi, and interim lions coach Daryl Bevel and Campbell. ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler and Dan Graziano reported that Team Lions also inquired with Iowa state coach Matt Campbell.