Dan Campbell immediately shows that Year 1 was not an act

Dan Campbell immediately shows that Year 1 was not an act

If you had even the slightest thought that Detroit Lions head coach Dan Campbell was going to be a one-year wonder in the cultural category, forget that thought. After just one day of training camp for the Lions, Campbell has already immediately taken that thought and repeatedly slapped it in the face.

When the Lions hired Campbell as their new head coach before the 2021 season, the mood quickly went from “I can’t believe the Lions hired this guy” to “I love this guy!” faster than I think anyone expected.

His early press conferences showed that he was going to be an entertaining and infectious force, and that part just never went away. Campbell’s presser became contract television. On Wednesday, he continued to be the funny guy. Athletic Lions beat writer Colton Pouncy can attest to that.

Things like this are not very surprising. At least it shouldn’t have been since we know Campbell is an entertaining guy. You just can’t help but remember Matt Patricia yelling at members of the media and telling them to sit up straight. So every time Campbell and company do something fun, you’re reminded of how much more fun the team is in their everyday lives.

The thing that surprised me on Wednesday was that Campbell got into an up-and-down with the team to start camp. Campbell joined the ups and downs to start camp last year, and it was a loving thing to see. You loved seeing a coach put himself out there to show the guys that they’re all in this together. The fans loved it and so did the players.

Still, my reaction at the time was that while it was cool, it felt like a classic thing that a high school coach would do once to build confidence and you’d never see him do it again.

But that’s not what happened. Forty-six-year-old Campbell went out there and joined his team for the upside down again. He didn’t just do one or two either, he went out and put in the work. I have to say he looked a lot better this year than he did last time too.

Things like this go a long way. There is so much talk about culture when it comes to the Lions. Almost every free agent the team brought in had a comment that the Lions culture was one of the reasons they chose Detroit. Campbell doing things like this is a big part of it. It’s not just about him putting in the work, but also acknowledging it know what the players went through during this grueling camp.

One of the biggest breaths of fresh air in 2021 was Lion’s openness, and it’s not going anywhere either. On Wednesday, we got full injury updates on Josh Paschal, Jeff Okudah, Romeo Okwara and more. It wasn’t just coach talk either. Campbell did not ask members of the media to check the report, and he did not use vague generalities when describing injuries. He gave specific labels to injuries and didn’t mind revealing that Josh Paschal had surgery.

This isn’t necessarily a culture pusher since this information is really for the fans and the media, but it really drives home the point that Campbell is at all times, authentic.

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