Dan Campbell explains what WR Trinity Benson’s role might be with Detroit Lions

Detroit Free Press

This week, Detroit Lions coach Dan Campbell has fielded questions about what the  receiver’s role might be in his team’s NFL season opener against the San Francisco 49ers at Ford Field.

The Lions acquired Benson in a trade last week with Denver. They sent the Broncos fifth- and seventh-round picks for the receiver who went undrafted out of tiny East Central University in Oklahoma. The Lions also received a 2023 sixth-round choice in the deal.

Campbell said he sees Benson, who is 6 feet and 180 pounds, playing inside and outside.

“You probably want to start him outside first and just see where we can take him,” Campbell said. “… We’re just trying to get him up to speed and see where he can go because if we’re playing and we want him to have success, too, we don’t just want to throw him to the wolves.”

Benson joins KhaDarel Hodge, a former Los Angeles Ram acquired off waivers from Cleveland, as newcomers to the Lions’ cramped receiving room, which features seven pass-catchers.

Campbell said Benson and Hodge are taking a crash course in the Lions’ offense — and apparently, they’ve been pulling all-nighters.

“We’ll have to get them caught up on sleep at the end of the week before the game,” he said. “But look, they’ve been grinding. Both of them are real smart guys and they’ve been working at it, and we’re going to have a plan for those guys.

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“We’re going to certainly want to try and use Trinity if we can. We’ll see where Hodge is at. But yeah, we take them as far as we can take them and by the end of the week, let’s see how comfortable he is with the offense. Where’s his knowledge at? Do we feel good about it?.”

Whether Benson winds up active Sunday remains to be seen. But he has people in his corner such as Campbell and general manager Brad Holmes, who was so impressed with Benson’s game film that he didn’t want to risk missing Benson through waivers.

“I think that he can be a very productive receiver for us, I do,” Campbell said. “I love his tape. I’m not going to lie to you. … He’s got some twitch about him, he’s got plenty of speed and he’s pretty polished. …

“We came out here Monday and to watch him run around and do some of our one-on-one routes and routes on air and things of that nature, I was pleased. He’s got a little something to him, which is another reason why Brad made the move that he did. We like this guy. We think he can really help us, I do.”

Benson has been trying to keep it simple with his new team. He still considers himself “just a kid from Texas who likes to play football” as he learns the Lions’ offense.

“They basically just want me to come and continue what I was doing,” Benson told reporters Monday. “They saw the tape and the plays that I was making, they just want me to continue to do that, continue to learn the offense and just keep getting better.”

Contact Carlos Monarrez at cmonarrez@freepress.com and follow him on Twitter @cmonarrez.

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