Michael Brockers didn't experience one winning season in his first five years with the Rams. Then rookie head coach Sean McVay replaced Jeff Fisher and the Rams ripped off four winning seasons in a row, including two division titles and a trip to the Super Bowl.
Now Brockers is getting flashbacks with the Lions, where a rookie head coach is trying to turn around a team coming off three brutal seasons. And the veteran D-lineman feels the same way about Dan Campbell as he did about McVay four years ago.
"Working with him is awesome. He reminds me a lot of McVay and how he came in as far as his understanding that, man, it’s no ego when it comes to his coaching style. It’s all about the team," Brockers said Wednesday on the Jim Rome Show. "I don’t want to use a phrase from the Rams, but it’s a We Not Me mentality. It’s all about the team, it's all about what we can do to be better. So I like that aspect about his coaching.
"It’s not, 'Oh, I’m coming in here and I’m changing the team.' Yeah, he is coming in here as a new coach and he has a lot of expectations, but at the same time he’s expecting us as men to do our part. And I think that’s what we love and respect about him."
Not that Brockers ever played for him, but there was little love and respect for Matt Patricia by the end of his tenure in Detroit. He alienated players by talking down to them. He lost the locker room in year one and never quite won it back.
That stands in stark contrast to Campbell, who's done nothing but win the locker room since he arrived. We'll see how his team fares on the field. But it's clear the players view their head coach and the seven other former NFL players on his staff as allies.
"They have an understanding of what we go through as players," said Brockers. "They understand that it’s going to be tough, it’s a grind and communication is vital. And the way you communicate is vital, because a lot of guys don’t want to be yelled at and screamed at. Some people just want you to talk to them as a man, gain the understanding of what you’re talking about and what you’re trying to teach and then let’s roll.
"A lot of these players in the league, we aren’t about a lot of BS, man. Just tell us what we gotta do, explain it to us in terms that we understand and let’s get the job done."