As the Detroit Lions opened training camp Sunday, coach Dan Campbell warned that it’s time to get down to business and tone down the rumors surrounding his team.
Fueled by a combination of their “Hard Knocks” appearance last preseason, a charismatic head coach at Campbell and a young roster that won eight of the last 10 games in 2022, the Lions have become fan favorites across the country as the new season approaches.
Even sportsbooks have bought the Lions, with BetMGM offering Detroit at +2,000 to win Super Bowl LVIII. At this time of year, there is usually another “0” at the end of that bet line.
“I think as always it’s the overtrain that you’re going to be concerned about,” Campbell said at camp in Allen Park, Michigan, according to ESPN. “I mean, like with most coaches, this is taking off and it’s out of control right now and that’s fine, as long as we stay focused on the job at hand and work. I keep coming back to that. We have to work and win it.”
The Lions have won four NFL championships, the last being in 1957, but they are one of four teams (the Cleveland Browns, Houston Texans and Jacksonville Jaguars, the others) to never play in a Super Bowl. Since 1993, they have made the playoffs eight times and have lost in the wild card round each year.
But this year, they’re the betting favorites to win the NFC North. Campbell said it’s his job to remind the Lions that they have work to do.
“I think you just keep the message consistent, and you call it what it is, and it just gets back to work,” Campbell said. “And when you see it’s not going that way or we’ve got some guys that are getting a little off track, or they think they’ve come through and they haven’t, you call them up.”
Quarterback Jared Goff, who played in Super Bowl LIII with the Los Angeles Rams, said Campbell is good at keeping the locker room humble and hasn’t earned the attention surrounding the team. Still.
“I think it’s funny to me that you go 9-8, don’t make the playoffs, and now all of a sudden you’re the favorite,” Goff said, according to ESPN. “Of course, we have good players, we have good coaches, we have a good team, but we haven’t done anything.
“We’ve got a lot of work to do. Minnesota won 13 games last year, Green Bay won the division a handful of times in the last few years, so we’ve got a lot of work to do to put the stamp on who we want to be and we’re not close to that yet, but we’re on our way.”
The Lions will be put to the test immediately when they open the season on September 7 on the road against the reigning Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs. It’s the first of four games for the Lions in prime time, in addition to their annual Thanksgiving game.
–Field level media