Can Dan Campbell replicate Tomlin, Harbaugh model with Lions?


No one doubts Dan Campbell's fire. No one doubts his readiness to lead a team after a five-year apprenticeship under Sean Payton. The knock on Campbell entering his first season as Lions head coach is that he's never called plays.

Then again, Matt Patricia called plays all the time in New England. How'd that work out in Detroit?

Acknowledging his own holes, Campbell vowed to "find the right staff" at his introductory press conference. Then he hired former Chargers head coach Anthony Lynn to run the offense and former Saints defensive backs coach Aaron Glenn to run the defense. Those two will be as instrumental to the Lions' success on gameday as their new head coach.

It's a model used by two of the NFL's most successful teams over the last decade.

"I like the Mike Tomlin model where your head coach is not a play-caller," NBC Sports' Mike Tirico said Wednesday on the Stoney & Jansen Show. "Some folks don’t like it. I like it more and more in the NFL. I think game-management situations have increased. I look at John Harbaugh and Mike Tomlin. The Ravens and Steelers on a regular basis have been in the playoffs. Those guys are significant attitude setters, culture setters, major decision (makers). It's their coordinators who have done it on both sides of the ball for a decade. So there’s nothing wrong with the (Lions hiring Campbell)."

Tomlin has dabbled in defensive play-calling for the Steelers the past few seasons, but for the most part he and Harbaugh have let the coordinators run their respective units on Sundays. It figures to be the same with Campbell. His biggest job in year one with the Lions will be establishing an expectation of success. That's the culture Tirico is talking about.

"Dan being a recent player in the NFL and having a sense of what this city is about, I happen to like it," Tirico said. "I think folks will enjoy having him there and I think around the league people are like, 'OK, Dan Campbell is a little bit of an interesting hire, not on the same radar as the rest of the names that were out there, but a good one and a solid one.'"

Featured Image Photo Credit: Detroit Lions