Dan Campbell saw Monday what many Detroit Lions head coaches have witnessed before him.
The Lions flash as a team that can be with anyone in the NFL, but the past few years simply haven’t had the inability to put it all together for a complete game and come out with a win.
With Monday Night Football’s spotlight on Green Bay for the Packers’ home opener, the Lions tied the opposition game in the first half and held a three-point lead.
Outgunned 21-0 in the second half, the Lions came back to earth in a 35-17 loss.
“We keep shooting ourselves in the foot,” Lions quarterback Jared Goff said. “We had something good in the first half and we really looked like we expected. Yeah, we keep shooting ourselves in the foot in the second half. “
For the third time in the past four seasons, the Lions are off to a 0-2 start. The other season was 2019 when the club was 0-1, after losing an 11-point lead in the fourth quarter against Arizona.
“I’m not a negative person,” Campbell said. “I am about to go to work. I want guys who are tough, who are willing to work. They love the ball. They will clean up the errors. Those are the guys I’m looking for. I’m not grumpy. You’re not going to get me down. “
With new management and a new head coach, the Lions knew they were moving in a different direction this season. Win or lose, Campbell is moving forward and wants players to join or stay behind.
“I want people looking for solutions,” Campbell said. “You know, we’re going to fix our mess because we got into this mess. Thats what Im looking for. I think we will be fine. Let’s be optimistic. “
Campbell gave his players off Tuesday and things didn’t get any easier for the Lions with a Sunday home game against the Baltimore Ravens, who racked up 481 yards to beat Kansas City.
“They will need a couple of days to recover,” Campbell said Tuesday. “So (Wednesday) we will work that way and then the next day it will really be normal practice Thursday and we will go full throttle and then we will be on the track.
“They have to be honed mentally. You don’t do as much physical work as you want, but mentally we have to be sharp. “
And some of that was lost in the second half against Green Bay with a fumble, an interception, as well as three sacks and nine game penalties for 78 yards.
“It should hurt,” Campbell said of the loss. “I hope it hurts. It itches me and it’s okay, but that doesn’t mean you have to be negative or kick the dirt or anything else and I don’t want those kinds of guys around here. “
Along with the loss, the Lions are dealing with another injury in the secondary. After losing Jeff Okuda to a season-ending injury in the season opener, Ifeatu Melifonwu could miss multiple games with a thigh injury.
“I feel bad for him,” Campbell said. “It’s going to be down for a significant amount of time and therefore certainly won’t have it for at least a couple of weeks, if not longer. So we’ll see where this goes, but, yeah, we’re not going to have it. “