After the Lions bye, Campbell eyes changes in practice; injury update

Lions coach Dan Campbell

ALLEN PARK — Coach Dan Campbell had a good chance during the bye week to take a deep dive into what he can do to turn around his 1-4 Lions.

Detroit plays at Dallas (4-2)  on Sunday.

“I feel pretty good about it, I feel like once you get away from it and look you realize how close you really are, but we can’t just say that, we can’t just say we’re close, we can’t just be close,’’ Campbell said on Monday.

The coach is looking at every detail in preparation each week.

 “I think that’s why everything goes back to. We have to hone in on all the little things that we do in walk-through, the urgency in walk-through and practice has to be on point,’’ Campbell said. “There has to be a focus on that day. Quit worrying about two days from now, Sunday, it doesn’t matter. All that matters is the work you put in on that day.’’

Campbell changing up practices, adding more one-on-one drills and putting on pads occasionally. Wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown said he looks forward to the changes.

“He tweaked a couple things for practice which I’m all for, I love one-on-ones. That’s going to be at practice on Wednesdays and Thursdays now for us,’’ wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown said. “I’m excited. You can work on your craft, get better, compete and that’s what I’m going to (do).’’

Along with practice, the defensive scheme will change too.

“We’re going to give them a plan they can digest, they can play fast, very much like – for example the defense what we did in New England. We calmed some things down and let them go. So that’ll still be what we do there but we won’t be totally vanilla, we’re not going to be sitting ducks,’’ Campbell said.

While the offense struggled against the Patriots in the 29-0 loss, that side of the ball is not a huge issue. It’s the defense which ranks 30th in the NFL — dead last — in allowing 30.0 points per game.

Campbell said he sat down with defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn and his staff to talk about the front, the back end, the scheme — everything.

“Basically like the coach said we find the problem and we fix it, we work on that, we’ve got to  come together as a team and buy in,’’ defensive lineman Isaiah Buggs said. “We can get better in every aspect of the game from the front end to the back end, we all need improvement, so there’s not one single person or a single group, it’s everybody. That’s why we had this bye week to reassess ourselves and get ready to go to work.’’

Defensive changes will be made for Sunday’s game against the Cowboys, but Campbell will keep them under wraps until then.

“Look, I’m not discouraged, I’m not happy with where we’re at, I don’t think anybody is, but when you really look at it you’re one or two plays away and all of a sudden you’re sitting with three wins, but the reality is we only have one. That’s where we’re at,’’ Campbell said.

NOTES: Campbell announced that defensive tackle Levi Onwuzurike had back surgery last week and is out for the season. He called surgery a last resort and said losing him is a gut-punch. … The news is better for defensive linemen John Cominsky and Jerry Paschal, along with cornerback Jerry Jacobs. Campbell said all three are trending in the right direction. Cominsky hasn’t played since Week 2 after undergoing hand surgery. Paschal and Jacobs have yet to play this season. … Wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown said his ankle feels better than a week ago. High ankle sprains can sometimes linger. … Cornerback Amani Oruwariye, who was benched for the New England game, is going to get a chance to compete to get back in the lineup this week according to Campbell.

Author: Paula Pasche

Paula Pasche, a veteran sports writer, covers the Detroit Lions for her Lions Lowdown blog. She has written two books, "Game of My Life Detroit Lions" and "100 Things Lions Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die" which are available at bookstores and on Amazon.com. She won first place for column writing from the Society of Professional Journalists in Detroit (Class B) in 2011, 2012 and 2013 and was The Oakland Press 2010 Staffer of the Year.

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