Detroit Lions head coach Dan Campbell spoke to the media Monday following his team's 38-35 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles in their regular season opener Sunday. Campbell had an opportunity to watch the tape and go over corrections with the players on Monday before moving on to preparations for this week's matchup vs. Washington.
Campbell said he felt better about the game after watching the tape than he did immediately after the loss.
Here are the key questions to come from Campbell's Monday presser:
What did Campbell think the major issues on defense were after watching the tape?
The Eagles scored 31 points on offense and rushed for 216 yards.
Campbell pointed to two things that bothered him in particular when it came to the defense – gap responsibility and tackling.
He said a few things showed up on tape when the team was calling a stunt upfront and one player didn't run the stunt. There were three occasions where the fourth defender on the line of scrimmage should be down fitting gaps and he was 10 yards off the line. Those are things Campbell hopes can be corrected before next week.
How did Campbell think rookie Aidan Hutchinson played?
The No. 2 overall pick had a fairly quiet debut with one combined tackle and three pressures.
"Honestly, I'm not even worried about him," Campbell said of Hutchinson. "He's going to adjust from this. He's prideful, he's a pro. I already know that about him as a rookie. I think we all do. He's going to want to better himself and learn from this and he will be better."
Penei Sewell also talked to the media Monday after Campbell and was asked about the difference between his first and second game as a rookie a year ago. Sewell said it was night and day from Game 1 to Game 2 for him because it's a shock in the first game in terms of adjusting to speed of the game at the NFL level. He expects Hutchinson to be just fine moving forward after making the adjustment.
What about rookie linebacker Malcolm Rodriguez?
Rodriguez had no missed assignments Sunday, which should be the biggest takeaway from his NFL debut. He recorded six tackles, a tackle for loss and was pretty good in coverage. He was the highest graded defender for the Lions Sunday by Pro Football Focus.
There's a couple of plays Campbell said Rodriguez would like back, but every player can usually make that assessment during Monday's film session. For a rookie who came in and played a substantial role, Campbell thought Rodriguez did a nice job overall. He was physical and aggressive, and was on top of his assignments.
Campbell wants more out of him on special teams moving forward.
Does Campbell have any regrets about the failed onside kick in third quarter?
The kick wasn't executed as well as Campbell would have liked. He said he would have liked it more towards the sideline and a little shorter.
"The offense was starting to click and I just felt good about it," he said. "My fear was that they were going to hold the ball for eight minutes, even when we do get a stop, and they chew up eight or nine or 10 minutes, and even with a stop you're getting forced to be in two-minute mode earlier than you want to be. That was just kind of the thought."
View photos from the Philadelphia Eagles vs. Detroit Lions Week 1 game at Ford Field on Sunday, Sept. 11 in Detroit, MI.
What did Campbell think about all the drops Sunday by his pass catchers?
The Lions were credited with dropping 13 passes all of last season by STATS INC. Their 3.2 drop percentage on catchable passes was tied for the fourth best in the NFL.
So it was a bit uncharacteristic to see as many drops as there were Sunday against the Eagles. There were at least five from four different players.
"It's like fumbles, they are contagious," Campbell said. "They really are. When you get one or two, all the sudden it's like someone has to stop it. Somebody has to make a big play. Somebody has to make some pretty good catches. I felt like it really started to spread around and it did become contagious."
It was discouraging to see so many drops by Lions pass catchers after watching the tape, but Campbell doesn't view it as a big problem just yet. He is hopeful it was Game 1 jitters.
What did Campbell think about the overall performance of quarterback Jared Goff?
Goff talked about some communication issues and missed assignments that plagued the offense early on, but Campbell liked the way Goff and the offense responded in the second half and played much better football. The Lions scored a touchdown on four of their final five possessions.
Goff settled in after a rough start, but that has to come quicker next week against the Commanders. There can't be a four-possession lull like we saw Sunday against Philly.
Campbell said he was confident if the defense could have gotten off the field at the end that Goff would have led them to a tying or winning score.