Allen Park — It’s well known that Detroit Lions coach Dan Campbell’s coaching style is heavily influenced by Bill Parcells and Sean Payton, his two highly successful mentors. But Campbell isn’t an old dog incapable of learning new tricks.
Upon arriving to Detroit, Campbell incorporated a holdover process from the previous regime in an effort to continually improve his situational awareness and approach during critical in-game situations.
Each week, Campbell has an assistant in the box who listens in on the headset and charts each of the coach’s decisions through the game — occasionally providing real time success rates for a given play. He then constructs a day-after report for Campbell to help evaluate his decision-making.
The job was formerly held by Evan Rothstein, who departed for a similar role in New England after nine seasons with the Lions. It’s currently being done by Jon Dykema, who also serves as Detroit’s director of football compliance and lead football counsel.
“I just think it’s good,” Campbell said Wednesday. “He’s up in the booth. He can hear what we’re saying. He doesn’t necessarily have input, per se, during the game, but to be able to write everything up and go through the flow of the game and give me a whole update on it, it helps me for next time.”
Campbell doesn’t always do what the probability charts say — he still believes it’s important to trust your gut in his position — but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t value and understand the data.
As he’s previously reported, he doesn’t have any regrets about how he handled the end of the game in Sunday’s loss to the Baltimore Ravens. Campbell still believes he took the right approach to burn clock and force the opponent to use its timeouts during Detroit’s final offensive possession, even if it meant settling for a field goal.
And Campbell remains confident in his decision to call timeout, as well as the following defensive play call, when the Ravens converted a fourth-and-19 in the closing seconds to set up Justin Tucker’s NFL record-setting 66-yard field goal.
“I go back over that,” Campbell said. “There again, I come out of this game and I don’t do anything differently, just where the flow of the game went. That’s how I felt. I still feel like it was the right move.”
Campbell said there are other decisions he reconsidered after the game, including punting on fourth down after his team jumped offside, turning it from fourth-and-1 to a fourth-and-6. In the end, he felt the right decision was to play the field position game. Punter Jack Fox ended up pinning the Ravens at the 10-yard line.