Head coach Dan Campbell isn't concerned with external expectations for how the Detroit Lions will fare in 2022, even though projections are mostly positive that the Lions will improve substantially over their 3-13-1 record in 2021.
What Campbell thinks, and what he wants his players to think, is another matter.
"I want them to know that I truly believe that we have the right coaching staff," Campbell said at his press conference Wednesday morning at the start of training camp.
"I do believe we have enough pieces here to complete. I really do. When you're a coach, you just want to know that you have enough pieces to be able to compete, and I do feel that way."
Campbell knows full well where the responsibility lies to compete and win games.
"Now, it's up to us collectively to find a way to turn some of those losses from last year into wins," Campbell said. "You find a way to flip five or six of those games – all of a sudden, man, you're right there.
"That to me is what this is about. Now it's up to us to find a way to close out those games.
"Can we find a way to get a little bit better and pull off some of those wins?"
Campbell isn't projecting a win-loss record.
"I can't put wins and losses on that," he said. "We've got the pieces here to mix it up with just about anybody."
The Lions started 0-8 before getting a tie with the Steelers. Two losses were by identical 19-17 scores to the Ravens and Vikings. Both won on field goals on the last play of the game.
As losses piled up, the Lions continued to show grit and play hard. It was a tribute to Campbell and his staff for keeping the team motivated. Going 3-3 in the last six games showed that players were buying into Campbell's message.
View photos from Day 1 of Detroit Lions training camp on Wednesday July 27, 2022.
That could have a positive carryover effect for the 2022 season, along with strengthening the roster through the draft, free-agent signings, and the maturity of players acquired in 2021.
"Dan's awesome," quarterback Jared Goff said. "We love his energy -- what he brings every day. I've said it before and I'll say it again. It's real. He's not putting on a show.
"It's who he is. That's what we respect about him."