Lions head coach Dan Campbell not ready to decide on offensive play caller

SideLion Report

On the question of who will call the offensive plays for the Detroit Lions this year, head coach Dan Campbell is not ready to make the declaration.

Coming out of the Week 9 bye last season, Detroit Lions head coach Dan Campbell took over the offensive play calling from offensive coordinator Anthony Lynn. From that point on, with tight ends coach Ben Johnson becoming the passing game coordinator, the offense improved.

Johnson was elevated to offensive coordinator early this offseason, as Campbell has talked about the Lions’ offense playing at a faster pace. But there’s the lingering question about who will call the offensive plays this coming season, and at rookie minicamp in May Campbell went tongue-in-cheek to say “I promise you this, if I don’t call them Ben will.”

Quarterback Jared Goff clearly had a better connection with Johnson and Campbell than he did with Lynn, despite attempts to refute a report suggesting there was that sort of struggle there between Goff and Lynn.

Dan Campbell not ready to say who will call plays for the Lions

From the Lions’ OTA practice on Thursday morning, Campbell addressed questions about the Lions’ offense. Johnson has been calling the plays during OTA sessions, for what it’s worth (perhaps a lot), but it is only June and Campbell is not ready to make any declaration.

And of course, Campbell had a joke about what it might take for Johnson to get the playing calling duties heading into the season.

Campbell added the Lions’ offense should look a lot like it did down the stretch last season, with no major changes to the philosophy (“run the ball, play action passing, we hang our hat on that stuff”). The biggest differences will be with verbiage (more streamlined, presumably) and tempo. The offense especially lacked tempo, and not coincidentally effectiveness, early last season. An upgrade in the talent level around Goff can only help, along with D’Andre Swift and T.J. Hockenson remaining healthy.

Who calls the offensive plays for the Lions is important in a vacuum, but ultimately not that important in the big picture as long as what’s being done is working. It will be a collaboration between Johnson and Campbell to some degree, if not a large degree, regardless of who has the call sheet in his hands on game day.

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