Filled with former NFL players, Detroit Lions coaching staff ‘knows what it takes’ to win

The Lions and Eagles both lost their season openers, but the Lions lost to the Rams and the Eagles lost to the Patriots. The Lions are now down to their third-string quarterback. Meanwhile, the Eagles are facing a major injury problem on defense. Philadelphia’s coaching staff must know exactly what it takes to win in the NFL.

The Detroit Lions coaching staff has been around long enough to know how to win games. Lions head coach Jim Schwartz (who was a linebacker for the New York Jets) and defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham (a former linebacker) are both former NFL players who have coached in the NFL for a very long time. That experience has allowed the Lions to have a very good understanding of what it takes to win on a regular basis.


Eric Woodyard

DETROIT – For Jared Goff, this season has been different for several reasons.

For starters, the California native became the starting quarterback for the Detroit Lions after five seasons with the Los Angeles Rams.

When he watched the Lions’ practice field during OTAs, he was struck by the unusual nature of the coaches on the sidelines running the show – all former NFL players.

It was interesting. I have been coached by former players in the past, but never to this extent, Goff said. That’s cool. It’s nice. Someone like [Antoine] Randle El has been playing at a high level for a long time and knows what he’s talking about, and so does everyone else. But at catcher, he did. You’ve seen it.

The Duce [Staley], he did it. Hank [Fraley], he did it. Then of course [Campbell] will. A-Lynn [Anthony Lynn], did it. All these guys have played at a high level, so it’s easy for them to communicate and understand a player’s point of view.

Since first head coach Campbell, the Lions have had seven former NFL players on their team. Lynn is the offensive coordinator, Aaron Glenn is the defensive coordinator, Mark Brunell is the quarterbacks coach, Staley handles the running backs, Hank Fraley the offensive line and former All-Pro and Super Bowl champion Randle Elle is the receiver.

Detroit is the only NFL team whose head coach, offensive coordinator and defensive coordinator are all former NFL players, and the team is already feeling their presence.

Especially since they’ve been there, Lions quarterback Jamaal Williams said. And you might think: What do they have to say that is useful to me…. but it’s kind of O yes because they played in the league or O yes because of their merits. So you can’t judge them by their experience, but you can judge the coaches who played, yes, because they’ve been there. They know.

As a versatile former quarterback and Super Bowl champion, Lions receivers coach Antwaan Randle Elle can pass on the little things from his experience to players like rookie WR Amon-Ra St. Louis. Brown. AP Photo/Keith Srakocic

Starting catcher Amon-Ra St. John Brown loves learning from these different football people who have actually played the game.

I talk to the receivers coach [Randle Elle] the most, and he says things from time to time that you know he’s played, St. Louis said. It includes blankets and little things between the routes to help us. It gives us knowledge and to say that our coach has played in the league and it’s great to have a coach like that.

When Campbell was hired by the Lions in January, he was one of six former NFL players who are now head coaches, along with Sean Payton (Saints), Mike Vrabel (Titans), Frank Reich (Colts), Ron Rivera (Washington) and Cliff Kingsbury (Cardinals). The 6-foot-8-inch big man from Clifton, Texas, played ten years for the New York Giants, Dallas Cowboys and Lions, from 2006 to 2008.

He chose a diverse coaching staff that could draw on a wealth of knowledge, Campbell said: You’re only as good as the people around you.

If you’re lucky enough to know enough sources, like I am, and you’re surrounded by great coaches, these things happen, and they’ve been there, so you make sure you ask them, Campbell said. Does this mean I will encounter something I have never seen before or am not prepared for? It’s gonna happen. You’re right. But I think you get your experience from the people around you and the people you trust.

Lynn was the head coach of the Los Angeles Chargers from 2017-20.

Staley is a Super Bowl champion as a player and a coach, and he commands respect from youngsters trying to reach that level, like Philadelphia’s D’Andre Swift, who grew up with Staley on the Eagles team.

I saw him a lot as a kid, so he has the knowledge and everything. He’s been in the league a long time, so he knows what it’s all about, Swift said. So I think it will definitely help me reach the level I’m aiming for. The energy he brings every day is the kind of coach you want to play under.

Jeremy Fowler interviewed more than 50 coaches, executives, scouts and players to create the top 10 rankings for 2021:

– Edge | Interior DL | LB
– CB | Safety
– OT (July 10) | Interior OL (July 11)
– QB (July 12) | RB (July 13)
– WR (July 14) | TE (July 15)
Other NFL coverage.

Being part of the Detroit coaching staff was a moment of fulfillment for Randle Al. As a player, he helped Pittsburgh beat Seattle 21-10 in Super Bowl XL at Ford Field with a 43-yard pass to receiver Hines Ward. This experience has shaped the way he communicates with players and why they listen to him.

That group experience, when you bring it and put it on the table, you know what’s expected of you, you know what to say to your players to get them going, and then you take that and put it on the field, Randle Elle said.

Motown has embarked on a complete rebuild following the firing of head coach Matt Patricia, who led the NFL’s worst defense last season. Campbell, defensive coordinator Glenn and others come in, along with first-year general manager Brad Holmes, not trying to sell the dream to the guys on the team. Instead, they maintain a brutal honesty.

I’m a product of Bill Parcells, and the one thing I learned from Parcells is to always be honest with the players, Glenn said. And even though the truth can create bad feelings between you and the player, but at the end of the day – and I knew this with Bill – at the end of the day, I respect him for telling me the truth.

Now it has given me a chance to work on what I need to work on. And as a player, you can’t fool yourself. If a coach tells you exactly what you need to work on, why do you think he’s lying to you? He wants to win. He will tell you everything you need to do to succeed, and I will do the same with the players.

Like Goff, former Rams quarterback Michael Brockers has yet to experience the old regime, but he loves the process in Detroit so far.

The biggest thing with coaches and players is we have to be good communicators, and [Glenn] is 100 percent the best communicator I’ve ever had, Brockers said. As someone who has played in the league, he understands a player’s perspective. So if you ask him a question or something, he can definitely answer that question in the way you want.

To me, the most important thing about this coaching staff is the way they approach coaching, and just the game process, the energy and the love for the game.

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