Butler, who primarily played for the Indianapolis Colts, has already seen enough from the Lions. The good news is that it has nothing to do with Goff, the newly-acquired quarterback who played his first five seasons for the Los Angeles Rams, or rookie head coach Dan Campbell. The bad news is…well, bad.
Darius Butler criticized the Lions after a recent viral workout video
In the grand scheme of things, 26 seconds may not sound like a long time. It may not have even taken you that long to scroll through the first two paragraphs in this story.
However, Butler needed that timeframe to immediately write off the Lions’ chances of competing this year. A 26-second video recently went viral of Campbell, a former Lions tight end, leading his team in the up-down exercise to open training camp.
Although some on social media praised Campbell for getting down and dirty with his players, others took issue with the video. Butler was among those who criticized Lions players, including one in long sleeves, for what they perceived as a lack of effort.
“Take the UNDER on the win total,” Butler tweeted. “I don’t need to see one Football rep. This was enough.”
As of publication, Vegas Insider listed the Lions’ win total at an even five games. Only the Houston Texans (4.5) had worse odds as of July 31, 2021.
The angle of the video made it difficult to identify which players, including the man in the long sleeves, showed poor effort. As of publication, Butler had not singled out any specific player in a follow-up tweet.
Campbell’s knee-biting tactics clearly haven’t sunk in yet
When Campbell took over the Lions earlier this year, he didn’t just promise victories and a model standard. He vowed the team would bite kneecaps and kick opponents in the teeth.
Fine, so maybe that is a bit much to expect, especially given the team still hasn’t signed Mike Tyson to play linebacker. Still, Campbell — an NFL veteran who served as the Miami Dolphins’ interim head coach in 2015 — made it clear he expected maximum effort and intensity from his players.
It’s still early in the calendar, but that video didn’t exactly show a group of Lions players who wanted to make the most out of training camp. The first day of camp is the opening day of school for players making millions of dollars per year. It’s a time of nerves and excitement and, at some points, anger about things not going your way.
Butler spent nine seasons in the NFL and entered the league with the New England Patriots in 2009. He saw Bill Belichick’s leadership up close and how players respond to coaching. If the Lions already have players unwilling to put their best foot forward with the cameras on, that should be extremely concerning for what may be ahead or what is already happening behind closed doors.
The Lions need to take Butler’s words under consideration and quickly apply them
There is good news for the Lions, a sentence which likely won’t be said once the calendar turns over to October. But the good news is exactly that: it’s still early for things to change.
Players are still getting used to Campbell, whose background makes him far different than Matt Patricia, the Lions’ previous head coach. Campbell spent a decade playing in the league and has coached for various teams since then. Patricia played Division III football and worked for the Patriots for over a decade before the Lions hired him in 2018.
If Butler can spot the poor effort in a video, then Campbell and his coaches clearly are capable of doing the same live or after the fact. The Lions have plenty of opportunities to make sure players correct their poor decisions, whether it’s a bad throw into coverage or body language during a workout.
For Campbell’s sake, he should hope those training camp up-downs translate into a Week 1 victory against George Kittle and the San Francisco 49ers. Otherwise, it could be yet another very long year in Detroit. Butler already sounds like someone who expects that to be the case.