Dan Campbell is learning on the fly.
He's not only learning how to be a full-time head coach in the NFL this season, but he's also been a first-time play caller as well the last three weeks.
"So, you learn as you go, you grow and then look, I'm not going to lie, there are things about it between learning to be a head coach and a play caller that are all – it's stuff that I'm working through right now that I can get better at," Campbell said this week.
"I look at all of it and I think about how do I prepare myself as best as I can and how do I improve on what I've done to help these guys?"
Campbell is still searching for his first win as Detroit's head coach, and we've yet to see the offense really take off under his stewardship the last three weeks. Detroit is 0-2-1 the last three weeks with Campbell calling plays, and Detroit's averaged 13.3 points and just 263.3 total yards per game over that span.
To be fair, Campbell has dealt with either adverse weather conditions or a banged up or backup quarterback at the helm the last three weeks.
But just as coaches evaluate players on a weekly basis based on the game film, Campbell evaluates himself as a play caller too. He said there are plays in every game the last three weeks he wishes he had back.
This past week it was the play call on the 3rd and 32 in the second quarter at their own 49-yard line. The first down is probably off the books in that situation, but a 15-yard pass could have put the offense in at least field goal range. Instead, Campbell ran the ball up the middle for a 1-yard gain and then punted.
"When we're on the minus 49 and its third-and-32, I wish – it's one thing to run it, but I hated the run that I called, that's one," Campbell said of the play.
"But, two is, hindsight, I wish I would have thrown. We would've had something a little deeper and it if it's there, great. If not, check it down, see what you can get and now you've got a decision to make. Do you still punt it or do you go for a field goal? I wish I had that one back."
Campbell doesn't regret making the decision to take over play calling.
"I'm doing what I feel is best for our team right now," he said this week when asked if taking on play calling was too much on top of being a first-year head coach. "This is not about me. This is not about my ego, about me trying to – like, I'm doing what I believe I need to do right now and what I feel is best for us."
In doing so, some other coaching staff duties have changed as well. Tight ends coach Ben Johnson is helping a lot with the passing game, while offensive coordinator Anthony Lynn is dealing more with the run game and the protections.
"I think he's getting more and more comfortable, and it's fun to see for me obviously at quarterback and being the one he's communicating with," quarterback Jared Goff said of Campbell's play calling.
"But, I think everyone can feel it. His comfort level is starting to set in and 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. 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."
The Lions aren't likely to have the services of dual-threat running back D’Andre Swift Sunday vs. the Vikings, but Goff is now three weeks removed from an oblique injury and is feeling better.
The Vikings are dealing with a plethora of injuries on defense and come in allowing 25.1 points per game. They rank 30th in total defense, 30th against the run and 22nd in passing defense.
With Campbell now settling into his play-calling role having three games to evaluate his work and make corrections, is this the week we see the offense take a step forward and play their part in securing the team's first win of the season?