NFL

Lions hire Dan Campbell on six-year contract

By Sports Desk January 20, 2021

The Detroit Lions have hired Dan Campbell as their new head coach, according to reports. 

Per NFL Media's Ian Rapoport, Campbell has signed a six-year contract to take the helm of a team that just recorded a third straight losing season. 

Campbell, who had been serving as assistant head coach and tight ends coach for the New Orleans Saints, succeeds Matt Patricia - the former New England Patriots defensive coordinator fired by the Lions in November. 

His previous head coaching experience came in 2015, when he was in charge on an interim basis at the Miami Dolphins following the firing of Joe Philbin after a 1-3 start. 

Campbell went 5-7 in his 12 games in the role with the Dolphins, but will hope for greater success with a Lions team that has won 14 games over the last three years. 

One of the issues he and new general manager Brad Holmes will have to resolve is the future of quarterback Matthew Stafford. 

Stafford is under contract until 2023 but the Lions could save $14million against the salary cap by moving on from the former first overall pick. 

A factor in Detroit's decision in that regard may be a lack of draft capital. 

The Lions pick seventh overall in the first round but have just four further draft picks thereafter, potentially making a trade of Stafford for additional picks appealing to Detroit. 

Regardless of what they decide to do with Stafford, Campbell will have a significant challenge on his hands to turn the Lions around after a 2020 season that saw them finish 20th in total offense and last in team defense.

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    In one of the standout games of the Divisional Round, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers host NFC West winners the Rams on Sunday.

    The defending Super Bowl champions were beaten by the Rams on the road in Week 3 of the regular season but have home advantage this time around after claiming the number two seed in the NFC.

    Tampa Bay eased to a 31-15 win over the Philadelphia Eagles in the Wild Card Round, while the Rams also encountered few problems in beating the Arizona Cardinals 34-11.

    A star Rams defense, which includes the likes of cornerback Jalen Ramsey and defensive tackle Aaron Donald, held Arizona to just 183 yards.

    It was the second-fewest total yards allowed in a playoff game in franchise history, behind only their 1989 Championship Game win over Tampa Bay.

    Brady does not need any reminders about how difficult it is to play the Rams, who have won seven of their last eight meetings against the Bucs.

    "It's a very, very challenging team," Brady told reporters ahead of the game. "Really good offense, tremendous defense, really well-coached, great specialists, so it can be very, very difficult game for us.

    "It's a very talented football team, obviously one of the great teams in the NFL.

    "This team does a lot of good things well. Obviously they rush the passer well, they cover you really well in the secondary, get a lot of turnovers - they sack the quarterback, strip sacks. 

    "They have a lot of dynamic players. Obviously, Jalen Ramsey is one of the great corners in the league. So between the guys that they have in the secondary as well as the front, you know that you have no place that you can take off. 

    "These guys are they can turn you over. They can make big plays like they did the other night when David Long got the pick six [against Arizona]."

    Brady and the Bucs will take lessons from the 34-24 regular season defeat, but the veteran quarterback does not believe it can be factored in too much due to both teams changing since then.

    He added: "All these games are a little bit independent from one another. 

    "Any time you know your opponent, that always gives you a little bit of understanding of kind of what they do well and things you wish you would have done. 

    "But it doesn't really matter what happened in October when we played them last. It's really about this game and what we learned from last game.  

    "We had a very different team and I think it was a little bit of a different team they had too. It is going to require its own individual performance."

    Last season the Bucs put a strong run together to finish the regular season that continued into postseason glory.

    Brady, who is now three wins away from winning an eighth Super Bowl, was asked how he always seems to find another gear once the NFL season gets to December and beyond.

    "For all of us, it's repeating good process – that is the important part about getting this time of year," added the 44-year-old.

    "You don't do much different, you just do more of which got you here. The things that work we do more of and you try to eliminate all the other distractions. 

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    The win over the Eagles was Brady's 18th career playoff win by double digits. 

    He has more playoff wins by double digits (18) and by single digits (17) than any other QB has total playoff wins (second is Joe Montana with 16 wins).

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    Their Week 3 matchup this season did see plenty of scoring, and the Rams won 34-24, but Brady is a formidable opponent in the playoffs.

    "The biggest thing about going against a guy like Tom is just knowing his consistency and his ability to get his team in the end zone," said Stafford.

    "He's done a great job throughout his career, both in New England and in Tampa of scoring points and doing it kind of every which way.

    "Whether they're going to run it, throw it, throw it deep, throw underneath – whatever it is, he always has a great game plan to go out there and execute at a high level. 

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    The win over the Cardinals was Stafford's first career postseason victory, meaning the Bucs clash will be his first taste of action in the Divisional Round. He only had to throw a season-low 17 pass attempts last week.

    "That was just flow the game and nobody's ever talking about that number," he said. "We know we want to be balanced, like we always are. 

    "We are just trying to go out there and feel the flow of the game, I think it's a credit to our guys up front, moving those guys in creating rush lanes, our guys did a great job around the football. 

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    "This is a great opportunity. We've earned these opportunities as a team. I've loved being a part of this team. So I'm hoping that we continue to earn more opportunities. That's the goal at this point.

    "Find ways to win games no matter what it looks like – hopefully, it looks great, like it did on Monday night, but sometimes games shakeout all different, you've got to find ways to win them."

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    The 49ers quarterback was not listed on the franchise's injury report on Thursday and is expected to play through a sprained right shoulder and thumb.

    San Francisco had more good news with linebacker Fred Warner also not on the injury report after a sprained right ankle while defensive end Nick Bosa is close to clearing concussion protocols to mark his return.

    "He threw the ball great. He's looked as good as he did the week before," Shanahan said about Garoppolo.

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    Garoppolo had been added to the 49ers injury report on Monday with Shanahan revealing he had a "slightly" sprained throwing shoulder from the 23-17 win over the Dallas Cowboys.

    The QB offered no guarantees on Tuesday and was limited in practice that day but was listed as a full participant on Wednesday and Thursday.

    "It's playoff football," Garoppolo said earlier in the week. "We know what time it is and there ain't no time to rest right now."

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