Coach Dan Campbell has hands full trying to get Detroit Lions their first win with Minnesota visiting on Sunday

Lions wide receiver Josh Reynolds, left, catches a touchdown pass as Chicago Bears cornerback Artie Burns defends during the first half on Nov. 2 in Detroit. (AP photo)

Detroit Lions coach Dan Campbell had a play sheet in his left hand and a walkie-talkie in his right hand during a recent practice.

In many ways, Campbell has his hands full. And he knows it.

The first-year coach, searching for ways to spark his winless team last month, took over play-calling duties from offensive coordinator Anthony Lynn and gave himself the important chore for the first time.

Campbell said there are three calls he’d like to have back, including a run on third-and-32 from midfield in the latest loss to Chicago, and acknowledged he’s learning on the fly.

“I’m not going to lie, there are things about it between learning to be a head coach and a play caller,” the brutally honest coach said. “It’s stuff that I’m working through right now that I can get better at.”

Lions quarterback Jared Goff throws against the Chicago Bears on Nov. 25. (AP photo)

Quarterback Jared Goff has witnessed Campbell improving each week with his new gig.

“Anytime you take something over like that in the middle of the season and haven’t done it before, it’s going to take a week or two, and I think he’s really settled in this past week,” Goff said. “I know he’d be the first one to say he wants things back, but I think he’s doing a great job and feel confident in him.”

Detroit (0-10-1) is down to six more chances to win a game in Campbell’s debut season, and its next opportunity against the Minnesota Vikings (5-6) might be one of its best to pull off an upset. The Lions have only one game left — at Seattle on Jan. 2 — against a team that isn’t currently in the playoff picture.

At Ford Field on Sunday, Detroit and Minnesota will be desperately seeking a win for different reasons. The Lions haven’t won in nearly a calendar year and the Vikings need a win to maintain realistic playoff hopes.



Minnesota’s Dalvin Cook was hurt late in the third quarter at San Francisco last Sunday, giving Alexander Mattison and rookie Kene Nwangwu increased roles in the backfield.

D’Andre Swift aggravated his shoulder injury in a 16-14 loss to Chicago on Thanksgiving. Jamaal Williams, a former Green Bay Packer in his first season in Detroit, had a season-high 15 carries for 65 yards and five receptions against the Bears.


Today's breaking news and more in your inbox

I'm interested in (please check all that apply)
Are you a paying subscriber to the newspaper *

Starting at $4.62/week.

Subscribe Today