Dec 10, 2023; Chicago, Illinois, USA;  Detroit Lions head coach Dan Campbell talks with quarterback Jared Goff (16) in the first half against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Jamie Sabau-USA TODAY Sports

Lions driven by painful defeat, back Jared Goff

INDIANAPOLIS — Adamant the Detroit Lions will be back to the conference championship stage on his watch, Dan Campbell vows to learn from the most painful loss of his coaching career last month in San Francisco.

“To me, you should benefit from every loss. I think if the losses don’t motivate you to not lose again, and for sure not lose an NFC Championship game, then something’s wrong,” Campbell said Tuesday at the NFL Scouting Combine. “To me, that’s the ultimate. You just don’t want to have that feeling anymore. You should do whatever it takes not to want to feel that. Absolutely we’ll benefit from that.”

Detroit won the NFC North and advanced to the conference title game for the first time since 1993, but the 49ers scored 27 unanswered points to erase a 24-7 halftime deficit and win 34-31.

The loss seemed like the likely final game with offensive coordinator Ben Johnson on Campbell’s staff. He was a finalist to be head coach of the Washington Commanders and Seattle Seahawks. But Johnson surprised both teams by informing them he was returning to Detroit.

“Here’s what I know about Ben: Ben is not — when Ben is focused on this, he’s focused on this. Nothing is going to move that for him,” Campbell said. “Once this item is done, he can close it and then he’ll move on to the next one. … I know this, he’s more than capable of being a head coach. He’s qualified. By the way people have hired in this league before, he’s more than qualified. But here’s what I love about Ben: Ben’s not going to do anything he doesn’t really want to do or that he doesn’t feel like he’s ready for. I’m glad we got him back. He’s one of us.”

Johnson has been vital elevating the performance of quarterback Jared Goff, who wraps a four-year, $134 million deal at the end of the upcoming season. But the Lions are talking to Goff about a new contract now, and Campbell sounds all but certain he’s the right man at the trigger to get Detroit to the Super Bowl based largely on his growth under Johnson.

He has 9,013 passing yards, 59 touchdowns and 19 interceptions the past two seasons. Patrick Mahomes put up 9,433 yards, 68 touchdowns and 26 interceptions — and lost to Goff — with the Chiefs during the same stretch.

Of course, Mahomes has three shiny Lombardi trophies to show for his efforts and is two years younger than Goff.

During his Tuesday media session, Campbell was asked if the Lions can win a Super Bowl with Goff at quarterback.

“I get it because it hasn’t happened yet,” Campbell said, “but I don’t get it because, take the NFC Championship game, I thought he played a good game for us. He gave us a chance to win that. I just feel like, man, since he’s been here, I’ve seen a quarterback that’s gotten better and better and better, and has grown every year, and I would say has gotten better under pressure every year and really just rose to the challenge. He’s more and more confident, he’s more comfortable. So I’ve said this before, to me, Jared Goff is a winning quarterback. You can win in this league with that guy.”

–Field Level Media

Jan 7, 2024; Detroit, Michigan, USA; Detroit Lions tight end Sam LaPorta (87) is carted off the field after an injury during second quarter of the game against the Minnesota Vikings at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: David Reginek-USA TODAY Sports

Lions: TE Sam LaPorta’s knee injury ‘not good news’

Detroit Lions rookie tight end Sam LaPorta avoided a season-ending left knee injury on Sunday, but his availability for the wild-card round of the playoffs next week is in peril.

“The best way I can put it is, it’s probably not as bad as it looked. But it’s not good news,” Lions coach Dan Campbell said Sunday. “I know it looked awful. It’s not as bad as that. It doesn’t mean it looks good to have him here in the immediate, to have him for a game.”

LaPorta broke the NFL rookie tight end record for receptions with his 82nd catch, also his 10th touchdown of the season, a 2-yard score with 8:06 left in the first quarter.

On the first play after the two-minute warning in the second quarter, LaPorta caught was split wide, left of the formation and caught a short pass from Jared Goff. Vikings safety closed quickly on the in-cutting route and tackled LaPorta high. As LaPorta went to the turf, he appeared to reach for his left knee, buckling under the weight of Metellus on his back and to the turf.

He went to the locker room on a cart.

LaPorta ended the regular season with 86 receptions for 889 yards.

He was one of four Lions to score 10 touchdowns this season.

–Field Level Media

Detroit Lions head coach Dan Campbell watches a play against Atlanta Falcons during the second half at Ford Field in Detroit on Sunday, Sept. 24, 2023.

Dan Campbell reassesses Lions’ loss: ‘Shotgun to the foot’

Dan Campbell brought the heat the day after the Detroit Lions were embarrassed by the Baltimore Ravens, pointing the flame directly at himself.

“I did not do a good job of getting them ready,” Campbell said assessing the 38-6 loss on Monday. “I didn’t have them ready. I’ve got to do a much better job of getting them prepared.”

Campbell said the Lions will be “physically, emotionally” ready for Week 8, a Monday night home game against the Las Vegas Raiders (3-4).

“Losing is bad enough, but you better not waste it. There’s a ton to learn from,” Campbell said.

The loss ended a four-game winning streak. Detroit is 5-2 and alone in first place in the NFC North with a bye week that will follow the primetime spotlight game this week.

Campbell said he’s going to make clear to the “dudes” on Detroit’s roster that they must win one-on-one matchups if the Lions want to continue their winning ways. He detoured back to thoughts on the Ravens, recanting his Sunday afternoon opinion that Baltimore quarterback Lamar Jackson played too well to lose.

“Man, we certainly helped them and served it up on a platter for them,” Campbell said. “I kind of came out of that game last night saying, ‘Man, Lamar single-handedly … .’ But no, that was not the case. We took that shotgun right to the foot several times.”

–Field Level Media

Sep 28, 2023; Green Bay, Wisconsin, USA; Green Bay Packers running back Aaron Jones (33) is upended against the Detroit Lions during their football game on Thursday, September 28, 2023, at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wis. Mandatory Credit: Tork Mason-USA TODAY Sports

Packers RB Aaron Jones (hamstring) returns to practice

Green Bay Packers running back Aaron Jones returned to practice Monday after missing the team’s Week 5 game with a hamstring injury.

The Packers had their bye this weekend.

Starting safety Darnell Savage (calf) was also back at practice after leaving early in the Packers’ 17-13 loss to the Las Vegas Raiders on Oct. 9.

Also, starting linebackers Quay Walker (knee) and De’Vondre Campbell (ankle) were working out on the side with trainers. Campbell has missed the past two games. Walker exited the Raiders’ game early.

The Packers (2-3) play at Denver (1-5) this Sunday.

Jones was injured in the season-opening victory against the host Chicago Bears, then didn’t play until Sept. 28 in a limited role in a 30-24 home loss to the Detroit Lions. He played 20 snaps in that Thursday night game, ran five times for 18 yards and caught one pass for minus-4 yards.

Jones, 28, has 14 carries for 59 yards and one touchdown, and three receptions for 82 yards and a score in two games this season.

Savage has 33 tackles on the season in five starts. Walker has 51 tackles and an interception returned for a touchdown in five starts. Campbell has 22 tackles in his three starts.

–Field Level Media

(File photo) New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (9) warms up before their game against the Arizona Cardinals at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, right, looks on. Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

Lions welcome QB Teddy Bridgewater, ‘all we need’ in backup

Signing Teddy Bridgewater to prep as the backup to Jared Goff comes down to history and results for Lions head coach Dan Campbell.

An assistant coach with the New Orleans Saints when Drew Brees broke his thumb in 2019, Campbell witnessed Bridgewater’s calm and leadership. Perhaps most important to Campbell, the Saints went 5-0 with Bridgewater in the starter’s role.

“When you’re with somebody for two years, you get a really good feel of what they’re capable of and the way they’re wired, the way he thinks, and so I’ve seen him work,” Campbell said Tuesday. “I’ve seen him run the offense, I’ve seen him in critical moments, I’ve seen him develop young talent, young receivers. We lost Brees, he goes 5-0. He just, he went in there and he kept the ship afloat and just kept the heading right where we needed it and that means a lot to me. That’s all we need. And so to me, that’s one of the reasons I wanted him here.”

The Lions drafted Tennessee quarterback Hendon Hooker and brought in Nate Sudfeld to play behind Goff. Bridgewater won’t play in the preseason opener and might not debut in practice until next week, Campbell said. Hooker is on the non-football injury list due to his ACL tear in college at Tennessee, leaving Sudfeld and Bridgewater to compete for the primary backup role.

“Teddy’s a pro, he’s going to study the heck out of it. He’ll pick it up. He’s going to pick it up pretty fast, so I’m not concerned,” Campbell said.

Bridgewater has 65 career starts in nine seasons with a 33-32 record. He went 0-2 as a fill-in starter for the Miami Dolphins last season and was injured twice (concussion, pinkie).

Neither injury should be a hurdle for Bridgewater, Campbell said.

“He’s got skins on the wall,” Campbell said. “He’s done it, been it. We need to see if he’s still got it, that’s all.”

–Field Level Media

Detroit Lions cornerback Jeff Okudah (1) warms up before action against the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday, Dec. 11, 2022 at Ford Field.

Lionsminn 121122 Kd 390

Lions coach Dan Campbell: Newcomers made CB Jeff Okudah expendable

Lions head coach Dan Campbell liked the newcomers signed in free agency and Detroit’s returning depth at cornerback so much that he felt former No. 3 overall pick Jeff Okudah was better off being dealt to the Atlanta Falcons.

Campbell said the Lions aren’t necessarily keying in on a cornerback with the No. 6 overall pick in the April 27 draft, and he praised the additions made by general manager Brad Holmes for sprucing up the secondary.

The Lions signed cornerback Cameron Sutton, safety C.J. Gardner-Johnson and defensive back Emmanuel Moseley to shore up the pass defense. Moseley is coming back from a torn ACL.

“We knew we wanted to upgrade the secondary and we’ve been pleased with the upgrades that we’ve made, man,” Campbell said on the Rich Eisen Show. “Bringing in Sutton and Moseley, and then getting C.J. Johnson from Philadelphia, we feel like we really beefed up that area. And we still got Jerry Jacobs, we got Will Harris back. So we’ve got a group and we just felt pretty good with the additions we made.”

Holmes and Campbell were hired after Okudah was already in Detroit. The Ohio State product was drafted No. 3 overall in 2020, three spots ahead of Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert and 19 spots higher than wide receiver Justin Jefferson (22nd overall, Minnesota Vikings).

“We really felt like, at this time, this is probably the best thing for us and for Jeff,” Okudah said. “A new change of scenery and give him a fresh start. We felt really good about our guys. And, look, man, I appreciate Jeff. He was a pro, he came to work, he busted his ass. He worked at it. He was coming off an injury last year and we just felt like, ‘You know what, this is the right thing to do right now.’”

Detroit dealt Okudah to the Falcons for a fifth-round draft pick. While his play was improved in 2022 in the view of defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn, injuries have been a major factor for Okudah throughout his career.

In 2022, Okudah suffered a concussion in Week 11, missed Week 12 and was benched Week 17 against the Chicago Bears before not playing in the regular-season finale at Green Bay.

A former standout NFL cornerback with the Jets, Glenn said after the 2022 season that he told Okudah that “he has to improve. … There is always going to be peaks and valleys when you play that position. You try to stay at the top as much as you can. But it’s hard. It’s hard. But I’ll tell you what, he is busting his butt. His trying his butt off to be at that top of the peak all the time.”

The move likely came after input from new senior defensive assistant John Fox, the former NFL head coach who was hired to serve as a veteran set of eyes for Campbell — drafted by the Giants when Fox was defensive coordinator in 1999 — and Glenn.

–Field Level Media

Kentucky running back JuTahn McClain (17) is stopped by Iowa linebacker Jack Campbell (31) during the first quarter of the TransPerfect Music City Bowl at Nissan Stadium Saturday, Dec. 31, 2022, in Nashville, Tenn.

Ncaa Football Music City Bowl Iowa At Kentucky

Syndication The Tennessean

Iowa’s Jack Campbell finds out grandfather’s death after bowl game

Iowa All-American linebacker Jack Campbell starred in the Music City Bowl on Saturday and was informed afterward that his grandfather was killed in an accident on Friday night in Nashville, Tenn.

According to published reports, William Smith Jr. died at age 76 after being struck by a hotel passenger van just after 10:15 p.m. ET.

Smith was hit after stepping into the roadway and reportedly was warned by family members not to cross the street.

The resident of Waterloo, Iowa, was transported to Vanderbilt Medical Center, where he died.

Nashville police said no charges are expected to be filed against the hotel shuttle driver.

According to Iowa officials, Campbell’s parents decided not to tell their son so he could have “one last time to play with his Iowa Hawkeye teammates.”

Campbell made 10 tackles — two for loss — with a sack to help the Hawkeyes shut out Kentucky 21-0. The Campbell-led defense allowed just 185 yards.

“Our hearts are with Jack and his entire family as their grieve the tragic death of their grandfather and father, William Smith Jr.,” Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz said in a statement. “We know Mr. Smith had a strong influence on his grandson and (was) a faithful Hawkeye supporter. All of us — players, coaches and staff members — will keep the Campbell family in our thoughts and prayers during this profoundly difficult time.”

Campbell had 138 tackles this season and was named the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year, won the Butkus Award as the nation’s top linebacker, and earned unanimous All-American honors for his latest stellar campaign. He had 143 tackles in 2021.

Campbell had 305 career tackles in 43 games (28 starts) during four seasons with the Hawkeyes.

–Field Level Media

Green Bay Packers cornerback Eric Stokes (21) is carted off the field during the first half against Detroit Lions at Ford Field, Nov. 6, 2022.

Nfl Green Bay Packers At Detroit Lions

Packers CB Eric Stokes likely done for season; LB De’Vondre Campbell out Sunday

Packers cornerback Eric Stokes is unlikely to suit up again this season, Green Bay head coach Matt LaFleur said Friday.

Stokes was on crutches in the locker room following the loss to the Detroit Lions last week. He was carted off the field in the same game in which the Packers also lost linebacker Rashan Gary for the season to a torn ACL.

Stokes is dealing with ankle and knee injuries. LaFleur would not divulge details or the severity of either injury.

“It’s looking unlikely, but I don’t have an exact update for that,” LaFleur said.

Stokes’ absence likely pushes Rasul Douglas into a starting role at cornerback with Jaire Alexander.

In addition to Stokes and Gary, the Packers all but ruled out a third defensive starter for Week 10 on Friday: linebacker De’Vondre Campbell is “highly unlikely” to be on the field at Lambeau when the Dallas Cowboys visit this weekend.

“We were hopeful that he would be available this week. It’s looking highly unlikely,” LaFleur said of Campbell. “He’s not where we need him to be, I guess.”

–Field Level Media

Sep 25, 2022; Foxborough, Massachusetts, USA; Baltimore Ravens defensive end Calais Campbell (93) during the first half against the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Paul Rutherford-USA TODAY Sports

Ravens DE Calais Campbell (illness) out vs. Bucs

Baltimore Ravens defensive end Calais Campbell has been ruled out of Thursday night’s game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers due to illness.

Campbell didn’t practice all week. The six-time Pro Bowl selection has three sacks this season and 96.5 in his 15-year career.

Baltimore listed eight players as questionable: Tight end Mark Andrews (knee), receiver Rashod Bateman (foot), linebacker Josh Bynes (quadricep), running back Gus Edwards (knee), cornerbacks Marlon Humphrey (hamstring), Marcus Peters (quadriceps) and Brandon Stephens (oblique) and offensive tackle Ronnie Stanley (ankle).

The Buccaneers have ruled out six players, including three in the secondary. Cornerbacks Carlton Davis III (hip) and Sean Murphy-Bunting (quadriceps) and safety Antoine Winfield Jr. (concussion) will miss the game as will tight end Cameron Brate (neck), wideout Russell Gage Jr. (hamstring) and guard Luke Goedeke (foot).

Tampa Bay listed defensive tackle Akiem Hicks (foot) and receiver Julio Jones (knee) as questionable.

–Field Level Media

Detroit Lions coach Dan Campbell during the second half against the Philadelphia Eagles at Ford Field, Sept. 11, 2022.

Nfl Philadelphia Eagles At Detroit Lions

Lions’ king: Dan Campbell garners huge early COY support

Dan Campbell is the people’s choice for NFL Coach of the Year through two weeks of the 2022 season.

The Lions are 1-1 but tested the Philadelphia Eagles in a furious comeback that fell short in Week 1. At BetMGM, Campbell is on 24.3 percent of Coach of the Year futures tickets and as 18.3 percent of the total handle in that market.

Dolphins first-year head coach Mike McDaniel has become the favorite on the board after a 2-0 start, dropping from +1600 to +500 two weeks into the season. Still, he’s named on just 3.7 percent of tickets at BetMGM with a whopping 24.2 percent of the total handle.

Giants head coach Brian Daboll, also 2-0, is now +800 after opening at +2200.

Campbell is behind Jaguars coach Doug Pederson and Chargers coach Brandon Staley on the board.

At Caesars Sportsbook, Campbell is +2000 with McDaniel (+600), Daboll (+750), Eagles coach Nick Sirianni (+800) and Vikings coach Kevin O’Connell (+900) topping the board.

But there’s no doubt that Campbell, the former NFL tight end, became a relatable follow almost instantly when the Lions introduced him prior to the 2021 season. He has the vocabulary of a left-lane trucker and the intensity of the underdog fighting for every inch of respect.

Detroit flopped in 2021 but after adding more young talent, including No. 2 pick Aidan Hutchinson, the Lions garnered national attention as the featured attraction on “Hard Knocks.” The HBO documentary further revealed Campbell as the tobacco-chomping everyman with the motivational angles to get the most out of his overlooked group.

–Field Level Media