Fired-up Lions coach Dan Campbell insists he has moved on from heartbreaking loss to Cowboys

Detroit Lions quarterback Jared Goff (16) talks with umpire Duane Heydt after a 2-point conversion play by the Lions against the Dallas Cowboys in the second half of an NFL football game, Saturday, Dec. 30, 2023, in Arlington, Texas. The Cowboys won 20-19. (AP Photo/Michael Ainsworth)

Dan Campbell’s passion has been on display since the moment he was hired as coach of the Detroit Lions, famously saying at his opening news conference nearly three years ago that his teams would kick in teeth and bite kneecaps of opponents.

Campbell has screamed with joy, and shed tears, after wins and losses.

And he has never looked and sounded as fired up as he was on Monday.

“ I’ve got controlled fury and I’m ready to go,” Campbell said.

Roughly 36 hours after a disputed call at Dallas led to a loss that took away a shot at the top seed in the NFC, Campbell insisted he had moved on and said players would do the same as they prepare for the regular-season finale.

“I’ve got pure octane right now,” Campbell said. “I woke up. I’m ready, so we’re moving forward.”

Looking back was not part of Campbell’s plan at his weekly news conference.

In an opening statement that lasted 2 minutes, 10 seconds, he did not address the negated 2-point conversion caught by offensive tackle Taylor Decker against the Cowboys.

Officials determined Decker was an ineligible receiver because they said offensive lineman Dan Skipper reported in as eligible when both approached referee Brad Allen along with offensive lineman Penei Sewell before the pivotal play.

Decker told reporters in Dallas that he reported as eligible and Skipper said he didn’t say a word to the officials.

Campbell said he didn’t know if Skipper wiped the numbers on his jersey, potentially causing confusion for officials because they may have thought he may have been doing that to report as eligible.

After a series of questions related to the penalty, the usually talkative and cooperative coach seemed uncharacteristically annoyed by the media.

“Why do you guys want to talk about this?” he asked.

Campbell said he did not know of a response from the NFL relating to the team’s questions about the call, adding team president Rod Wood is charge of communications with the league.

“Until you guys asked me the questions, I’m over it,” Campbell said. “I don’t even want to deal with it. Rod’s handling all of it, man. He’s got it and I don’t even want to deal with it. I’m done. I’m good. I just want to go and I want to get ready for Minnesota and our players will be ready to roll.”

Wood was not available for reporters Monday, and the NFL has not commented on the call.

Because of the one-point loss at Dallas, the NFC North champion Lions (11-5) have less at stake Sunday at home against the division rival Minnesota Vikings (7-9). Yet Campbell insisted he has no plans to rest hurting players for the playoffs.

“That’s the plan right now,” he said.

Detroit has a chance to improve its playoff seeding with a win. The Lions currently hold the No. 3 spot in the NFC.

Campbell said banged-up rookie tight end Sam LaPorta is “good,” and that receiver Jameson Williams left the game against the Cowboys with an ankle injury, adding it was not significant.

He’s hoping defensive back C.J. Gardner-Johnson will play against the Vikings, marking his return from a torn pectoral muscle in the season-opening win at Kansas City, along with defensive tackle Alim McNeill, who has been out for a month with a knee injury.

Even though Campbell did not want to talk about the call against the Cowboys, he believes it’s a blessing.

“We were in a tight game, had a chance to win it, we weren’t able to and so now you know what that’s like,” he said. “You know what that feels like and you can’t let that opportunity slip. You don’t know when that play’s going to be made — could be the first quarter, second quarter, right before halftime — so that’s why.”  (AP)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *