Most of the talk around Dan Campbell is positive, but the Lions’ head coach lands very, very low in a CBS Sports ranking of NFL head coaches.
The Detroit Lions were unlikely to have a good record last season, in Dan Campbell’s first as head coach, and indeed they finished 3-13-1 after starting 0-8 and 0-10-1. But, as much as it’s an overused buzzword, a new culture was being set and Campbell had an overmatched team playing hard all season.
The Lions are set to take another step this year, with better talent and an easier-looking schedule driving optimism. In terms of respect on a wide scale, that’s going to be a tougher bargain until further notice.
In Pro Football Network’s ranking of NFL head coaches for 2022, with five first-time guys tacked on at the end, Campbell came in No. 24. In Pro Football Focus’ ranking of the same ilk, theirs adding Josh McDaniels to as a first-year head coach with his current team to the aformentioned five first-timer, Camobell landed No. 23 out of the 26.
But it’s the most recent head coach ranking from CBS Sports that now stands out.
Lions head coach Dan Campbell too easily disregarded in head coach ranking
Cody Benjamin of CBS Sports ranked Campbell No. 30 of the 32 NFL head coaches, in the lowest tier labeled “Stuck In The Mud.”
Detroit won’t like this, because he took the nickname “Dan the Man” to new heights as a first-timer, invoking archaic humanity with his tearful war cries and knee-cap speeches. But energy doesn’t equate to wins, as his 3-13-1 debut confirmed, and not even an influx of speedy weapons may absolve the continued commitment to QB Jared Goff.
It’s worth noting that career records were use, with Campbell’s 8-20-1 mark including his 5-7 record as Miami Dolphins’ interim head coach in 2015.
The only coaches ranked below Campbell by Benjamin are Matt Eberflus (Chicago Bears, No. 31) and Lovie Smith (Houston Texans, No. 32). But there’s a strong case for Matt Rhule (Carolina Panthers, No. 28) to be ranked below the Lions’ head coach, with Arthur Smith (Atlanta Falcons, No. 29), Dennis Allen (New Orleans Saints, No. 26) and Robert Saleh (New York Jets, No. 27) somewhere in that conversation too right now.
If the Lions don’t win noticeably more games this year, say 6-9, the heat may turn up on Campbell’s seat. And he has plenty to prove entering his second season as a permament head coach. But he is absolutely not the third-worst head coach in the NFL heading into the 2022 season.