Column: Not your usual ‘Black Monday’
Published 5:02 pm Monday, January 10, 2022
The first Monday after the end of the National Football League regular season is known as “Black Monday.”
That is because it is the day that most NFL teams make decisions about their head coaches and general managers. Today was no exception as, before I had even made breakfast, the Chicago Bears and Minnesota Vikings had fired their head coaches and general managers.
Shortly after that, Miami, for some unexplainable reason, fired its head coach. Denver did not even wait until Monday to fire its coach. They did it after the team played Saturday night.
For me, “Black Monday” usually means I am waiting to see what the Detroit Lions will do with their latest coach and general manager. But this year, there is no reason to say glued to Twitter and Facebook as the Lions have no reason to consider doing anything but Dan Campbell and Brad Holmes a big slap on the back and tell them they did a good job this year season.
Where the Lions good? Absolutely not. Did they play hard and improve as the season went along? Yes, they did. I believe a big reason for that is that the players actually like playing for Campbell. Changes still need to be made during the offseason to the coaching staff, but instead of a wholesale clearing out of the staff, it should be more like tweaking the staff to make it better.
I have to be honest. I am a typical Lions fan. For me, I watch about half of the season opener and decide if the team has any chance of being any good. I keep track of the Lions as the season goes along and will even watch part of another game or two if they are available, which they usually are not because I am stuck with watching the Chicago Bears or Indianapolis Colts even though I live in Michigan.
In keeping track of Detroit this season, it was easy to see that the team seemed to get better each week despite the record. The Lions had several tough losses, some on last-second field goals, and a tie that easily could have gone the other way and kept the Pittsburgh Steelers out of the playoffs.
There was also the week that Jared Goff, after playing his best game of the season, had to go into COVID protocol, which cost the Lions another win as the backup quarterback was picked off in the end zone on the final play of the game.
Detroit already made one personnel change Monday afternoon as Anthony Lynn and the club mutually decided to part ways. This move is no surprise to anyone as Campbell took over the play-calling after the Lions’ 0-8 start. During that stretch, the offense3 averaged just 16.8 points per game and 321.1 yards per game.
With Campbell calling the plays, Detroit was 3-5-1 and averaged 21.2 points and 323.9 yards per contest. There was nothing to shout about, but it showed the team’s improvement as the sent went along. In my estimation, Campbell cannot continue to handle those duties, but he should take his time and get the right guy in there to help develop Goff and the offense.
I am sure there are some more moves to come, but for now, it is nice to sit back and watch what the Lions do this offseason in terms of retaining coaches, signing free agents and then how they use the draft to make the team even better.
I know that help is needed on the defensive side of the football, especially in the secondary. It would also be nice to get Goff some additional weapons on the outside to improve the offense.
I cannot wait for this season to wrap up, so teams can really start the ball rolling for the 2022-23 season.
Scott Novak is sports editor for Leader Publications. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.