Lions head coach Dan Campbell spoke to the media Monday following Sunday's convincing 30-12 win over the Arizona Cardinals at Ford Field. It was as thorough a victory Sunday as the Lions have had in recent years.
Campbell opened his press conference Monday by talking about how much better the Lions were on third down, especially early in the game, and how that played a big part in the win.
Detroit started the game 4-of-5 on third down on offense and put together two long drives to take a 10-0 lead. At the same time, the defense was terrific on third down early, forcing three and outs on Arizona's first two possessions to help Detroit build the lead.
The Lions entered the game last in the NFL in third-down conversion percentage on offense, so it was good to see them make strides in that department.
Here are all the key questions to come from Monday's media session:
Can Sunday's win be a springboard for the rest of the season?
When a team puts in the work, trusts the game plan, trust themselves and their teammates, results like Sunday are what can happen. All three phases were better than Arizona Sunday, and it was a consistent performance all the way around for 60 minutes.
"One more time it validates the fact that, 'Hey man, we can do some things, man.' We can take teams to the wire. We got a chance to win. Look, that's one of the better teams over there, particularly in the NFC, so that just validates, 'man, we can do this.' Just stay true to our system and what we're preaching them."
How did the Lions come out of Sunday injury-wise?
Linebacker Alex Anzalone left the game in the first half with a shoulder injury and did not return. While the injury doesn't appear to be long-term, it is serious enough that Campbell expects Anzalone will miss the remaining three games.
The Lions will have to rely a lot more on Jalen Reeves-Maybin, who had a terrific game Sunday stepping in for Anzalone.
Is there any update on running back D’Andre Swift?
Swift feels better Monday than he did Saturday, according to Campbell, and the plan is to work him back into practice this week and go from there.
Swift has missed Detroit's last three games with a sprained shoulder.
How will Lions handle Craig Reynolds carries when Swift and Jamaal Williams come back?
Williams was activated from the Reserve/COVID-19 list today, and with Swift returning to practice as well, where does that leave Reynolds, who's played really well the last two weeks? Reynolds has rushed 37 times for 195 yards for a 5.3-yard average the last two weeks filling in for Swift and Williams.
Campbell said it's a good problem to have to be this deep at running back. He said Reynolds has earned some carries moving forward, even with Swift and Williams potentially returning to the field.
How well did Will Harris play at cornerback after further review?
Harris has played safety, nickel cornerback and after Sunday he can put outside cornerback on his resume as well. Harris stepped in and played on the outside with the Lions down a number of cornerbacks due to injuries and COVID-19.
Harris allowed four receptions for 24 yards with a long of just seven yards, per Pro Football Focus statistics. He was flagged for one pass interference penalty that could have gone either way. Overall, he stepped in and played an unfamiliar position pretty darn well, and Campbell said he was the first name they thought of when all the cornerbacks were going down with COVID-19 last week.
Campbell said the Lions will look pretty hard at Harris this offseason to see where they envision him playing moving forward. Is he a safety? Is he a nickel? Is he a cornerback? Is he simply a jack of all trades?