Lions’ road record bodes well for playoff push; Elliott update; quote of the day

ALLEN PARK — With a playoff berth a definite possibility, the Lions will play two of their last three games on the road. On Saturday they’re at Carolina Panthers, then home to the Bears on Jan. 1 and finishing the regular season at Green Bay on Jan. 7 or 8.

After winning three straight away from Ford Field, winning on the road doesn’t seem to be a major factor moving forward. 

The Lions have won at Chicago, at the New York Giants and on Sunday at the New York Jets. The win over the Bears was the first road win since Dan Campbell took over as coach.

So what’s the deal? This team is maturing and gaining confidence across the board. They’re well prepared at home or on the road.

When Campbell was asked about the road success on Monday he had to take a minute to come up with an answer.

“Look I think I go back the hardest thing for the offense is to be able to function with a silent cadence. It’s easy to say if you’re really disciplined on what you do and you get an environment and crowd noise and momentum, that will shift to the home team at some point but if you’re very disciplined you can work your way out of it,’’ Campbell said. “We’ve done a good job of it, we don’t let the momentum go so far the other way that we can’t swing it back in our favor. In some of the most critical moments we’re making the play to finish it out.’’

That is the key to winning six of their last seven.  In those last three road wins the Lions were either tied at the half (Bears, Jets) up had the lead. At the Giants they were up 17-6 at halftime. 

At 7-7, the Lions are 3-3 on the road and 4-4 at Ford Field.

Quote of the day: Campbell was asked about the progression of rookie Aidan Hutchinson. He had plenty to say, ending with this: “He’s got a knack for trying to punch at balls – footballs that is. He does everything. It’s not just one thing it’s the totality of it, he does everything and has gotten that much better,’’ said Campbell without hesitating after the ‘balls’ comment even when the media laughed.

Elliott status uncertain: DaShon Elliott injured his shoulder midway through the third quarter on Sunday and didn’t return.  His shoulder was still tender and he was having testing done on Monday. Campbell said he expected to know more later in the day. If he can’t go on Saturday at the Panthers, it’s likely C.J. Moore or Ifeatu Melifonwu will get the nod.

“C.J. has served in that role. We’ll look at him, we have Iffy as well. It will be the combination of who gives the best opportunity on defense but also on special teams and the team in general. Let’s put our guys in positions that are going to help us the most,’’ Campbell said.

(Up next: Lions at Panthers (5-9), 1 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 24)


Lions newest safety DeShon Elliott appreciates team’s gritty style

Although he was celebrating just his 25th birthday on Thursday, DeShon Elliott is looking forward to a fresh start as a safety for the Lions.

After spending four seasons with the Baltimore Ravens, he thinks the Lions are a good fit.

“On my visit last week being around the coaches I really feel they love and care about each one of their players and they want to be great,’’ Elliott said on Thursday.

His first inkling about coach Dan Campbell and his staff came when the Ravens beat the Lions 19-17 at Ford Field last season in Week 3.

“It was a slobber-knocker, but they played so hard and I could just tell from that game how much they loved their coach by the way they played. You can always tell that,’’ Elliott said. “They really bought in and loved the experience they have in the building. That was one thing on the outside looking in.’’

His 2021 season ended with biceps and pectoral injuries sustained in a Nov. 8 game. His rookie season in 2018 was spent on injured reserve with a broken arm. He played just six games in 2029 due to a knee injury. But started all 16 in the 2020 season.

Obviously staying healthy is key for Elliott, a sixth-round pick in 2018, who signed a one-year deal with the Lions on April 14.

Before he signed he talked with Quandre Diggs, a former Lion who was shipped out of town by Matt Patricia. Elliott said Diggs is like a big brother to him and told him the Lions’ style of football – gritty and hard-nosed – matches the character of the city.

“That reminds me a lot of Baltimore so that’s another reason I came here, I wanted to go somewhere that matched my game,’’ Elliott said.

He also knows Tracy Walker – they were in the same draft class – and admires his game.

Elliott said in his talks with Lions coaches, he felt what mattered the most is  the kind of person he is.

“They wanted to build a certain type of character into the locker room. I think I bring all the right traits,’’ Elliott said. “I’ll be myself at the end of the day. No matter what, I’m not going to be somebody I’m not.’’

He describes himself as aggressive, one who puts it all on the line.

“I’m here to win, that’s it, that’s all I care about,’’ Elliott said.