NFL

'A great thing cooking in Detroit' – Harmon hails Campbell impact on in-form Lions

By Sports Desk December 07, 2023

The Detroit Lions are strong contenders as they close in on the NFL playoffs and Duron Harmon believes his former side are succeeding due to the understanding and relatability of head coach Dan Campbell.

Campbell's Lions lead the NFC North after going 9-3, inspired by an energetic running game and experienced quarterback Jared Goff, who made Super Bowl LII with the defeated Los Angeles Rams.

Only C.J. Stroud (3,540), Sam Howell (3,466) and Tua Tagovailoa (3,457) have passed for more yards than Goff's 3,288, while the Lions' 1,648 rushing yards can only be bettered by the Chicago Bears, the Miami Dolphins and the Baltimore Ravens.

Enjoying a fine season to date, Harmon – a Lion for a season in 2020 – lauded the qualities his former Detroit side have to offer in their quest for a first playoff berth since 2016.

"What I've seen is a team that has taken the approach and the mindset of their head coach," Harmon, now of the Cleveland Browns, told Stats Perform.

"A gritty team, a tough team, a team that will not quit, a team that will fight for all 60 minutes, and a team that is continually going to be on the rise this year and for years to come.

"They have a great thing cooking in Detroit.

"I was privileged enough to sit down with coach Campbell when he got hired. Right then and there, I knew they hired the right guy.

"He said it was going to be a year-to-year thing, it wasn't what happened overnight. He understood that he understood the process that it was going to be."

As the Lions continue in their search for a first Super Bowl triumph, Harmon lauded Campbell for restoring pride among a devoted Detroit faithful.

He added: "I'm happy for what he has done for the city of Detroit because they have one of the most loyal fan bases in sports, not just in the NFL.

"All they've ever wanted was a team to compete and a team that they can be proud of and Dan Campbell has given that to them – so hats off to him.

"We still have a long season, but what they've been able to accomplish this year up to this point, and just over the last two years, it shows that they're heading in the right direction to compete for years to come."

Touching further on Campbell's qualities, Harmon believes more NFL teams should follow suit in appointing former players looking to get into coaching.

Former tight end Campbell played for the New York Giants, the Dallas Cowboys and the New Orleans Saints – as well as a spell with the Lions – in a playing career that ended in 2009.

"It was a brief, probably 20-25 minute conversation, and the energy he gave off to me was, a lot of coaches say, I'll do any and everything for you, but you can just tell he meant it," Harmon continued.

"Not only did he mean it because, obviously it was his chance to be a head coach, but because he could relate. He was in the player's shoes.

"That's one thing that I think the NFL and these owners should start doing more is looking to hire former NFL players because they can relate.

"They understand the grind, not only physically, but mentally. They understand what it means to be an NFL player.

"What better way to have a head coach, who not only can motivate the players, but also relate? So they hired the right guy and we all see it. I wish him nothing but luck."

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