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Raiders coaching search: Could Lions be a blueprint?

Sticking with interim leaders could have a familiar look

Syndication: Detroit Free Press
Dan Campbell
Junfu Han / USA TODAY NETWORK

The NFL is a copycat league in many aspects.

Players copy styles. Coaches copy schemes and owners and front offices copy blueprints on how to build a staff and program.

So, in that regard, the Detroit Lions may offer an intriguing guide for Raiders’ owner Mark Davis and he tries to rebound from the disastrous Josh McDaniels-Dave Ziegler regime that he ended last month.

And it that’s the case, it may bode well for Raiders’ interim general manager Champ Kelly and interim head coach Antonio Pierce.

Pierce has vowed to be, and has shown in his short time at the helm of the Raiders, like Campbell, he is a former player who is a player’s coach. He leans on the players’ thoughts and needs and works with it. Players sell out for Campbell, who like Pierce, looks like he could still play. Campbell is 47 and Pierce is 45.

Of course, Campbell’s approach is working as the Lions are 8-3 and in the NFC Super Bowl mix.

The Lions were 3-13 in 2021, the first year under Campbell, who went 5-7 as the interim head coach of the Miami Dolphins in 2015, and then improved to 9-8 last season before this year’s jackpot.

Like the Raiders, the Lions have had a history of losing in the past several years. They last been to the playoffs in 2016 and haven’t won a playoff game in 32 years. Campbell has pushed life into this franchise.

Campbell has built a strong partnership with Detroit general manager Brad Holmes. This is his first GM job as he was the Rams’ director of college scouting for seven years before he got hired in 2021. Hiring Campbell was his first move in Detroit.

NFL: New York Giants at Las Vegas Raiders
Antonio Pierce, Sandra Douglass Morgan, Champ Kelly
Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Kelly, like Holmes, is in his early 40s, has had a long career in the front office. He was the Raiders’ assistant general manager before his interim promotion.

Like Campbell and Holmes, Kelly and Peirce can build the program together.

There are no guarantees that playing copycat works in the league, but there are some similarities between what’s happening in Detroit and with the Raiders’ current setup that it could inspire Davis.