Entering the Lions' Week 9 bye, Dan Campbell said he wanted to be more involved with the team's "anemic" offense in the second half of the season. And what will that look like?
Campbell said Tuesday he plans to spend more time in offensive meetings and around Jared Goff as he tries to spark a unit that ranks 29th in the NFL in points per game.
"I've been somewhat involved in game-planning from afar, just ideas you’re giving to the guys while they’re doing some stuff," Campbell told the Stoney & Jansen Show. "I pop in, I pop out, but now I’m going to be in there. Let’s put it that way. I’m in there, I want to be heavily involved. Certainly it still takes all of us and everybody’s got good ideas and we'll come to the best conclusion as to what we think will work or the best way to attack, in particular, Pittsburgh's defense (this week).
"And then I want to be around the quarterback more. That just means that’s where you’re going to invest a little more time than everywhere else. That's what I meant by that."
Detroit's passing game has been feeble from the jump. Goff is seventh in the NFL in attempts, but 18th in yards, tied for 23rd in touchdowns, 27th in yards per attempt and 30th in yards per completion. His average completion is traveling fewer than four yards through the air. His longest completion was a 63-yard screen to D'Andre Swift that the running back caught four yards behind the line of scrimmage. You get the point.
Campbell said "there’s a number of things that play into" the Lions' inability to stretch the field, "but I do feel like we need to make it more a point of emphasis to get these guys the ball a little bit."
He said Kalif Raymond, Amon-Ra St. Brown and Trinity Benson can all expect more opportunities moving forward.
"I think it’s important that we try to get everybody involved here a little bit. Not at the expense of (your primary) playmakers, but by the same token, man, 'Lif certainly has proven there's things he can do to help us. I think St. Brown is trending the right way. And Trinity, we’re just going to keep giving him opportunity. But man, let’s get them some primary routes here, let's give them some primary opportunities. We hit a couple and I think their confidence will grow, the quarterback’s confidence will grow. But we just gotta do it. So I think as coaches that’s where we can help," said Campbell.
The Lions have also struggled to run the ball in recent weeks behind a depleted offensive line. And when they were running it well, they weren't able to run it enough. They come out of the bye facing a Steelers team that ranks eighth in the NFL in scoring defense. In Campbell's first week as a primary offensive game-planner, it sounds like the Lions will be more aggressive through the air.
"We gotta stay ahead of the sticks here and I think there’s a couple things we can do," Campbell said. "But I do know this: We gotta find a way to get a couple shots, man. We have to. We gotta get some shots down the field."