Lions GM: Hockenson would have been traded even with a 6-1 record

ALLEN PARK — Brad Holmes, the Lions general manager, insisted on Wednesday that he would have traded tight end T.J. Hockenson even if the Lions 1-6 record was reversed.

The 25-year-old Hockenson was traded to the Vikings for a second-round pick (2023) and a third-rounder (2024) on Tuesday, the NFL trade deadline day.

“This move was not reflective of our record. If our record was reversed and it made sense for us we would have still done it,’’ Holmes said during Wednesday’s practice “It wasn’t anything of that nature, it made sense for us and we’ll move forward with it.’’

Hockenson, a 2019 first-round pick, had 26 catches for 395 yards and three touchdowns in the first seven games.

“I think that we’ve proven that our offense can score a lot of points, I’m sure he was a part of it. But the deal would have made sense, it was not based on record whatsoever,’’ Holmes reiterated. “I think it was a good deal for the future of our team and that’s my job, I’ve always got to have a laser focus on the current and also the future.’’

Holmes said this is not a sign that the team has given up on the season after losing five straight games.

“We’re working hard every single day to win as many games as possible. We’ve still got 10 games left and that’s what we’re working hard to do,’’ Holmes said. “Just because we’re in that phase of rebuilding doesn’t mean we can’t go out and work as hard as we can and win some games.’’

He said it is archaic thinking that trading in the division is a bad thing.

“When we make these kinds of decisions I’m totally at peace. T.J. is a good football player and the next time we play him he’ll still be a good football player, he’ll make a play or make some plays and score a touchdown or whatever he does. The camera will be in my face, I’ll look at it and wave,’’ Holmes said.

Hockenson is in the fourth year of his rookie deal. The Lions picked up his $4.9 million fifth-year option, putting him under contract through 2023. He is eligible for an extension.

Holmes said that many factors went into the trade decision and wo9rking on an extension for Hockenson was just one of them.

The GM also thanked Hockenson for his contributions to the team.

“I want to publicly express my appreciation for everything T.J. did for us. We’ve had a great relationship since I’ve been here. I wish him all the best, besides when we’re playing him, going forward,’’ Holmes said.

(Up next: Packers (3-5) at Lions (1-6) at 1 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 6)

Lions coach Dan Campbell: No time to panic after loss to Vikings

ALLEN PARK — Dan Campbell admits his mistakes, but on Monday said he has no reason to panic following the 28-24 loss at Minnesota on Sunday.

The Lions dropped to 1-2 and will face the Seattle Seahawks (1-2) at Ford Field on Sunday.

On Sunday, the Lions were up two scores with 8 minutes left and could not finish.

“Listen, I get the road that everybody’s been down. Listen I’m not sweating it, I’m not sweating it and this team is not sweating it. We’ve got a long season,’’ Campbell said on Monday. “You look throughout this league,it happens this way every year. I feel like what happens early in the season, it really molds who you are going to be as the season goes on and late in the season.

“Those that can endure the adversity of the season, the ups and downs, and just stay in the race are the ones that have success,’’ the coach added.

In his first season the Lions finished 3-13-1 and didn’t win their first game until Dec. 5. They haven’t won a road game under Campbell.

On fourth-and-4 at the Vikings 36-yard line late  in the game, Campbell called for a 54-yard field goal attempt rather than to try for the first down.

“Before that point we had some chances to close that game out offensively that we didn’t capitalize on,’’ Campbell said. “At the end of the day when you look at all three units, what was the unit that was going to give you the best chance to win that type of game and it was offense. I thought (Jared) Goff was throwing the ball well, we were protecting well. That’s the way we should’ve gone.’’

Still he said he had confidence that Austin Seibert could make that kick even though he had missed his first attempt on Sunday.

“I would be willing to give him another go. If I didn’t feel that way I wouldn’t have let him kick at the end of the game. I know he missed the first one, but he came back and made the second one,’’ Campbell said. “So I felt like he’d make this and it didn’t work out, but yeah. Now, full disclosure, he’s a little bit sore today so we’ll see what happens with him.’’

Center Frank Ragnow wasn’t clear on whether he was surprised they went for the field goal on that fourth down. 

“I try to just stay in my lane, just try to execute my job. You’d love to go for it, but hindsight is everything,’’ Ragnow said. “To be honest, us as players, us as an offensive line, at the end of the game we shouldn’t have been put in that position. We should have been way more clean up front, a lot better execution all around, me especially. We shouldn’t even put coach in that position. We should’ve closed the game out before that.’’

NOTES: Safety Tracy Walker tore his Achilles on Sunday and will be out for the rest of the season. Campbell called it a “significant loss” and said they haven’t decided on how to replace him. He’s inclined to keep Will Harris, a safety turned cornerback, at cornerback … Campbell also said D’Andre Swift’s shoulder injury could keep him out this week, but nothing for certain yet. The Lions have a bye after the Seattle game so sitting Swift could give him extra time for healing and rest.

(Up next: Seattle Seahawks (1-2) at Lions (1-2) at 1 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 2, at Ford Field.)

Dan Campbell regrets decision late in game as Lions lose to Vikings

Dan Campbell’s aggressiveness seems like a breath of fresh air after watching the Lions’ mostly conservative play calling for so long.

The coach and offensive coordinator Ben Johnson called a solid game on Sunday, but a few questionable calls cost them the win. The Lions couldn’t finish and much of the blame falls on the shoulders of the coaches.

Campbell went for it on fourth down six times in the 28-24 loss at the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday. The Lions converted four of those but it was one miss that stands out.

With 1:14 left – and holding onto a 24-21 lead – the Lions’ call on fourth-and-4 from the Vikings’ 38 was for a 54-yard field goal which would have been a career high for Austin Seibert. It sailed wide right. 

For me, I regret my decision there at the end,’’ Campbell said. “I should have gone for it on fourth down. Told the team that.’’

The Vikings (2-1) then needed just three plays to cover 56 yards and score a touchdown to take the 28-24 lead, their first lead of the game with less than a minute on the clock. 

The Lions (1-2) were up by 10 with 8 minutes left in a tough road game, but couldn’t hold on. Campbell told his players not to get frazzled by the loss.

“I told them it should sting, it shouldn’t taste good because we had it. I just told them we’ve got to learn from it, we’ve got to learn from the plays that bit us in the (butt),’’ the coach said. “As you know, you guys have a job to do, there’ll be a lot of criticism placed on a number of guys myself and including the players, which is natural. They all know it. You can’t go on the downs and ups. Just stay true to what it is and learn from our mistakes.’’

Another questionable call came early in the fourth quarter, the Lions had a third-and-1 at their own 27. Instead of handing the ball off to Jamaal Williams or D’Andre Swift (who was playing hurt), Jared Goff’s pass to Josh Reynolds was incomplete. That forced a punt and on that next series the Vikings’ running back Alexander Mattison scored a touchdown on a 6-yard scamper that closed the gap to a 24-21 lead for Detroit.

The Lions struggled on third downs — going 3 of 16 — which led to so many fourth-down attempts.

Even after the loss, Campbell said this result won’t affect his aggressiveness in general

“I’ll always evaluate, I go back and watch (film) and really think about was this the right thing to do, was it not the right thing to do. I do know if you’re going to go in and feel you need to be aggressive early in the game, you can’t second guess when it doesn’t work out for you early in the game,’’ Campbell told the media. “It’s not going to affect me. I’m going to always do what I feel is best to help us win.”

The defense put pressure on quarterback Kirk Cousins early but had trouble stopping the run. Dalvin Cook had 96 yards on 17 carries before he was injured late in the game. After three sacks in the win a week ago, rookie Aidan Hutchinson didn’t have a sack or a tackle. Alex Anzalone had the Lions’ lone sack and led the defense with 10 tackles.

Goff was 25-of-41 for 277 yards with one touchdown, one interception and a 79.0 rating.

Swift, who has been dealing with an ankle injury, played but was limited. Wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown (six catches for 73 yards) limped off the field late in the first half. He played in the second half, but wasn’t 100 percent.

Running back Jamaal Williams stepped up, finishing with 87 yards on 20 carries and two touchdowns.

Safety Tracy Walker left the game in the second half and did not return. Campbell said they will know more on Monday, but it could be an Achilles or an ankle. An Achilles injury could possibly end his season.

(Next up: Seattle Seahawks at Lions, 1 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 2, at Ford Field.)