Detroit Lions head coach Dan Campbell spoke to the media Monday after Sunday's 29-0 road loss to the New England Patriots. It was the low point in a season that's gotten off to a 1-4 start. The Lions now head to their bye week with an opportunity for a reset and recalibration.
Campbell thought the defense played a lot better Sunday than they had coming in. He said if the offense would have played just half as good as they had been playing the first four weeks, it could have been a different outcome in Foxborough.
Here all the key questions to come from Campbell's Monday press conference:
What is the mood of the team after a 1-4 start heading to the bye?
"I think everybody is in the same boat here," Campbell said. "Everybody's upset. Everybody is frustrated. Nobody likes losing here. I think everyone knows we're better than 1-4, but we haven't shown that collectively – in pieces we have.
"But I also know what kind of group of guys we have in this locker room. Brad and I built it that way. These guys aren't going to lay down or give up. It's a good group of guys. We need to regroup."
Campbell believes they're starting to figure some things out on defense after Sunday's performance against the Patriots (allowing 22 points), and knows the offense is better than they showed. There's no panic, but there's definitely a sense of urgency after the hole they've put themselves in to start.
How can Campbell and the coaches go about turning things around during the bye?
One thing Campbell is going to take a close look at is how the Lions handle practice. In particular, Campbell pointed to more one-on-one periods at practice. He said that really pops out watching the tape. Expect more route running and coverage one-on-ones and pass rush and pass block one-on-ones.
"We are going to look at everything," he said. "We're going to peek at everybody. We'll adjust what we need to as coaches."
Does Campbell regret any of the fourth down decisions Sunday?
The short answer is no.
Campbell said he wanted to be patient entering the game, but felt good about the first 4th and 1 call at the Lions' 45-yard line that was really a 4th and a half yard. A missed assignment led to running back Jamaal Williams being stuffed in the backfield and giving the Patriots a short field and a quick start with a field goal.
The Lions were 0-for-6 in the game going for it on fourth down.
"Just knowing where we are at, on the other fourth downs, the way it was playing out, I felt like that's what we needed to do," Campbell said.
How do the Lions generate more pressure on opposing quarterbacks?
Detroit's generated just seven sacks in five games, which is more than only Arizona (6) and Las Vegas (5) through the first five weeks of the season. To put that number in a little bit of perspective, San Francisco leads the NFL with 21 and Dallas is a close second with 20.
Campbell said that's one of the areas they're really going to look at on defense this week to see how they go about generating more of that pressure. How can they help those guys generate more pressure? Do they pressure with the blitz? Do more stunting? Or do they fan it out and let them go?
"We've kind of tinkered with everything, but we have to hammer down on some things that we think we can help them with," he said. "Certainly we need more rush. That being said, I think we can help with the way we practice. More one-on-ones. A lot more one-on-ones."
Campbell said that means more padded practices moving forward too. The team hasn't padded up for practice in three weeks. The Lions also haven't won a game in three weeks.
Will the Lions be getting back any players after the bye?
Campbell is hoping to get rookie defensive lineman Josh Paschal back for the Dallas game Week 7. Paschal returned to practice last week.
Those are three significant players that could help boost the defensive line and generate more of the pressure Campbell is looking to unlock.
Why was New England able to generate so much pressure on quarterback Jared Goff Sunday?
The Patriots really attacked the interior of Detroit's offensive line and did a good job pushing the pocket. It wasn't the best game for the offensive line. The weak link along the line was Logan Stenberg, and the Patriots went after him.
"They felt like that was where they needed to go, the interior of our offensive line as a starting point," Campbell said. "They really pushed the pocket on Goff."
Per Pro Football Focus, Jared Goff was just 3-of-14 passing for 35 yards when pressured Sunday. He could never get in rhythm and was uneasy all game because of the pressure.
Stenberg was eventually replaced at right guard by Evan Brown. This is a copycat league, so expect Dallas to take a close look at this Patriots film when they host the Lions in two weeks and try to attack them similarly.