Dan Campbell expects Eagles to test whether Lions’ woes have been fixed

Last season the Eagles mauled the Lions, 44-6 on Oct. 31. No one has forgotten.

On Sunday, the Lions face the Eagles again in the season opener at Ford Field. Both teams are different. The question is to what degree.

“It was an embarrassing loss, they let us have it, they rubbed our nose in it. They came in and did everything that they wanted to do to us, times 10. I think we’ve acknowledged that,’’ coach Dan Campbell said.

That loss put the LIons at 0-8 on the season. It was followed by a bye week and a time of reflection. After that humiliation, Campbell started calling the plays on offense and made changes including getting wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown more involved. 

The Lions finished the second half with a 3-5-1 mark.

“We understand that’s what they’re coming back for. If I’m them I’m doing the same thing. We’re going to come back and attack you the same way to see if you’ve fixed your problems,’’ Campbell said. “They’ll have a couple tweaks here and there but I would fully expect them to come in and see if we’ve fixed our problems. We understand the opponent that’s coming in.’’

While there are a few new players, the core of the Lions’ group that played in that game is still on the roster. They haven’t forgotten either.

“Watching that film is hard to watch, with that you’ve got to learn from your mistakes,’’ defensive lineman Charles Harris said. “Understand we have a different scheme, different techniques, we’re a lot better team this year. With that we have confidence we can get the job done this year.’’

In that 44-6 loss, the Eagles ran for 236 yards with four rushing touchdowns. The Lions were down 17-0 at the half but gave up 21 third-quarter points. Jared Goff was 25 of 34 for 222 yards and zero interceptions. 

“Going into this week we know what happened last year and we’re not going to let it happen again … I think going into this year, starting off fresh. We’re excited. It’s a new team,’’ St. Brown said. “We feel completely different about this year than we did last year. We’re excited to play them again in Week One.’’

Lions offensive line off to good start on first day in pads

On the first day in pads at Lions training camp on Monday, the offensive line made a few knock-down plays that had the fans oohing and ahhing.

In one set of one-on-one drills against the defensive line, the offensive guys showed their stuff on each matchup.

“You put the pads on, it’s real football, I’m very confident in our O-line going one on one matchups with anyone. That being said, I think our D-line is going to be really good this year,’’ left tackle Taylor Decker said. “You saw Charles Harris come on last year, he’s picked up right where he left ott. He’s a beast, he’s a really good player, he’s a super high effort all the time. I think as Aidan (Hutchinson) learns you’re going to see him — he loves to ball, he’s into it, he loves to learn. It’s going to make both groups better.’’

A year ago, the offensive line also looked to be a strength but due to injuries there was never a game where all five starters played. Not one game.

Now they’re back and healthy. Decker sat out Saturday as a precaution due to his foot injury last year but on Monday he said it’s fine.

“I think we expect every single guy on the offensive line to play at a high high level at their position, whatever that means as far as accolades I don’t know. You come out here every single day and you try to get better as an individual, you’re going to help the guard next to you, then you’re going to help the unit, then you’re going to help the offense, then you’re going to help the team,’’ Decker said.

They expect much out of themselves. Decker and right tackle Penei Sewell both noted how going against the Lions defensive line – including Harris and rookie Aidan Hutchinson – will help make them better.

“It benefits me a lot to see those two guys. Charles came in and shocked the world (last year).. I didn’t really know who he was, he’s a beast,’’ Sewell said. “To have Aidan follow that type of guy that makes him better and I’m following Deck. It’s kind of the same thing back and forth. Iron sharpens iron, everyone knows that.’’

Sewell, who flattened cornerback Jeff Okudah in one drill on Monday, is entering his second season and feels more comfortable since he knows his teammates so well now. They’re a tight-knit group as is typical for most offensive lines.

“That chemistry too makes my job way easier out there. I know what to expect. The speed is way slower, everything is not coming at me 1,000 mph, everyone is normal speed and I like it,’’ Sewell said,

Perhaps the most growth is expected from Sewell who is making the jump from year one to year two.

“I think I’ll know more as we get more padded practices. One thing me and him have talked about as far as just keeping the width of the pocket, just setting aggressive, being confident on your sets and changing up your sets. That’s something as I’ve gotten older I’ve done a lot more of. It might be third-and-10 but I’m going to jump set this guy because he’s not expecting it,’’ Decker said.

Along with Decker and Sewell, other offensive line starters are expected to be Frank Ragnow at center, Jonah Jackson at left guard and Vaitai Halapoulivaati at right guard.

“Our excitement is through the roof. We know what we’re capable., everyone knows what we’re demanding out of each and everyone of us in the room,’’ Sewell said. “The sky’s the limit, only we can control that and how far we can go.’’