Lions’ Dan Campbell had some strong thoughts on a popular defensive statistic and everyone needs to hear it


The Detroit Lions defense did not do a thing that Lions fans were really hoping they would do a lot of last year and that’s get to the quarterback and rack up sacks. It just didn’t happen a lot. The Lions finished the season with 40 sacks in 2023. That was good for 24th in the NFL. 

Where the Lions finished high in the pass rush world was in total pressures. The Lions had 417 of them in 2023. That was the fourth most in the NFL. According to Lions head coach Dan Campbell, that pressure number is more important than the sack total. 

“Sacks aren’t that big of a deal as long as you’re getting the pressures.” Campbell said. “As long as you’re getting pressures and those pressures show up and affect the quarterback negatively, you know. Now would you rather have a sack, absolutely I’d rather have sacks, loss yardage and all those things, but the pressures are more to me. Pressure, that affects the quarterback.” 

It’s hard to argue with Campbell on that. Obviously sacks are important, but you can’t always get them. It just doesn’t happen as much as you’d want it to. But if you’re putting pressure on a quarterback, that’s going to change the way that play breaks down and changes what the quarterback is able to do, even if you don’t take him down. 

“We watched a couple of clips this morning in front of the team. Quarterback wants to step up, he can’t step up and throw is high. You know, he’s flipping to his right and he can’t get his hips around and throws a pick. So these things that end up in negative plays, whether it’s incomplete or its turnovers or whatever, I’ll take those all day long.” 

The Lions had multiple moments like that from the 2023 season that show what Campbell is talking about, but it’s the Ifeatu Melifonwu interception that sealed the NFC North championship that really shows it. 

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