Takeaways from Allen Park ahead of final preseason game: competition is high, the Dan Campbell hype is real

Dan Campbell Lions Football
Posted at 12:51 PM, Aug 25, 2022

Takeaways from Allen Park ahead of final preseason game: competition is high, the Dan Campbell hype is real. Jeanna Trotman breaks down more points of emphasis as the Lions prepare for the Steelers.

  • Time to step up
    • Dan Campbell said he is waiting for David Blough or Tim Boyle to step up as the second string quarterback for the Lions behind Jared Goff. He said he is waiting for one of them to take the reigns of the offense, but does feel that they both progressed in the last week.
    • He added that bringing in another quarterback isn't off the table, as is the case with any other position. He said since the Lions are second in queue to select, it would be something that would consider if the right player becomes available.

  • Any progress is good progress
    • Lions first round draft pick Jameson Williams was recently placed on the reserve/NFI list as the Lions have to make roster choices and room. Dan Campbell said Williams is progressing and doing everything they need him to, but with his ACL recovery, they want to make sure he is ready to take on real NFL action and speed when he is ready to go. This means he would miss at least the first four games of the season.
    • Campbell admitted, "if you had to twist my arm" that Levi Onwuzurike would not be ready be the first game of the season against Philadelphia. Campbell said he is progressing, but that he is "progressing at a snail's pace." He assured the media that there has been no setbacks, but that he is not ready to go as of now.

  • Kelvin Sheppard loves Dan Campbell
    • Kelvin Sheppard shared a wonderful story about his relationship with Dan Campbell. Sheppard knew Campbell from his days as a player and when he was making the transition away from the game of football, he always kept in touch with Campbell. After thinking he wanted a break, he decided he wanted to get into coaching and it was then Campbell made room on his staff for Sheppard.
    • Sheppard said he is serious about coaching, but also is realistic of the challenges African American men face when trying to climb the ranks in the NFL. He said he was cognizant of his dreadlocks and tattoos and how that could hinder his hiring potential. He called Dan Campbell in 2020 and told him he was thinking of cutting his hair. Dan Campbell called him crazy and talked him out of it. "I love your hair," said Campbell. Sheppard didn't cut his hair, he proudly wears his dreads, and said he hasn't had short hair since about 2008.
    • Sheppard said that was a clear example of the type of guy that Dan Campbell is. I asked him what is it like to work for a guy who treats his staff and players like that. Sheppard said, God willing, he would love to be in a head coaching position one day, but if it comes for working for a head coach, he wouldn't want to ever work for anyone else other than Dan Campbell. He said it means something when you can be your true authentic self and this goes from the players to the coaches.
  • Iron sharpens iron
    • Anyone who watches Hard Knocks know the hype around Malcolm Rodriguez, or "Rodrigo" is real. In fact, the hype and excitement was mostly fabricated by his LB coach Kelvin Sheppard. However, Sheppard is also the very first person to bring the excitement back down to reality. Sheppard was adamant in reminding people that Rodrigo has yet to play a NFL down and we can check back in week five or six to see that Rodrigo is still doing everything he has shown in camp.
    • If a sixth-round draft pick is getting blown up as being the best LB in camp and someone who will start, that means the veterans and guys with experience ahead of them, may not necessarily be doing their job. Sheppard said the rise of Rodrigo has pushed the standard for the rest of the guys. He explained that this is a job for the players and they're not going to sit back and let some rookie "eat the food of their plate."