Campbell talks 'biggest fear' for opener, says Swift, Brockers 'should be ready to go'


Dan Campbell can rest easy. After weathering some injuries in training camp, the Lions look healthy ahead of Sunday's season opener against the 49ers.

"We got all our guys back. Everybody’s getting healthy at the right time and we got them all going, so hopefully we’ll be clicking," Campbell said Tuesday on the Stoney & Jansen Show.

Starting running back D'Andre Swift missed most of camp with a groin injury, and Campbell recently admitted his concern about Swift's status for the opener. Veteran defensive lineman Michael Brockers was sidelined for a large portion of camp as well. Asked about the duo Tuesday, Campbell said they "should be ready to go" against the 49ers.

Of course, no head coach rests easy ahead of the opener -- especially a head coach in his first year on the job. Sunday marks the start of Campbell's career as a full-time head coach. This is his first Week 1. His biggest worry as he approaches his debut?

"Not having our guys prepared. That we didn’t give them enough as coaches, or that I didn’t allow my coaches to give them enough. Or from a game-plan standpoint, did we have enough time to prepare? That I didn’t do my part, that’s my biggest fear," he said. "I want to make sure that these guys have everything they need to have success -- and that’ll always be my fear, if I'm being honest with you.

"It doesn't make me scared, but there is a fear there that, man, are you preparing your team to give them the best opportunity to win?"

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We'll all find out Sunday. One player Campbell isn't concerned about is right tackle Penei Sewell, despite the rookie's struggles in preseason.

"Even to this point I feel like he’s on track and growing properly. I’m not concerned about him," Campbell said. "Now for us to think we’re just going to line up and not even pay attention to him and disregard that this is his first live NFL game and not think about that, that wouldn’t be very smart on our part either. It’ll be a different tempo, it's a good player he’s playing against, but I don’t feel red flags or anything with him. I think he’s ready, I think he’s progressed and this will be another test for him. Look, I think he’s on track."

The Lions enter Sunday as 7.5-point underdogs at home, which is how they'll enter most games this season. They're widely viewed as a four-to-five-win team. That's fine for Campbell, something of an underdog himself.

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"You like being an underdog," he said. "Who doesn’t? I think being counted out does motivate you a little bit. Now by the same token, you can do all that talk you want, you can think that way, but if you don’t prepare properly none of that matters. We can go through and play the, 'We have no respect, nobody cares about us,' but if we don’t handle our business and figure out a way to stop this (49ers) running attack, if we don’t find a way to get efficient yards on first and second down on offense, none of that matters. It’s just lip service.

"That’s always there, that’ll be in the back of our minds, we got something to prove. But more importantly, we got a job to do. You gotta focus on the job that’s right in front of you."

That's especially true right now for a pair of recently-acquired receivers in Trinity Benson and KhaDarel Hodge. The Lions are expecting both to make an impact this season, Benson especially. How does the coaching staff get Benson ready in such short order?

"From the time that he’s got here, you tape his eyelids open and you pour coffee down his throat and you just force-feed the playbook down his throat," Campbell said. "Luckily for both of those guys, man, they’re both smart guys and they've been around football. They understand what we’re doing, it’s just the flip in terminology. Everybody runs basically the same stuff, it’s just what you call it. So it's how fast can we get those guys up to speed, because both of them can help us. That’s what we do feel pretty confident about."

Perhaps Benson -- and Hodge -- can add some flavor to what looked like a pretty vanilla offense in the preseason.

"I don't know if we’ll have sprinkles on it, but it won’t be vanilla," Campbell said. "Maybe that’s the best way to put it."

Featured Image Photo Credit: © Kirthmon F. Dozier via Imagn Content Services, LLC