The Detroit Lions should have moved heaven and Earth to hire Robert Saleh for two simple reasons. One, his teams play hard, which is a trait that has not been observable with any consistency throughout the organization for far too long. Secondly, he is familiar with the team having grown up in nearby Dearborn, close enough to smell the permastink from both the Silverdome and then downtown.
With Saleh gone to greener pastures with the New York Jets, the Lions have set their sights on Dan Campbell, the real-life embodiment of PC Principal. Campbell's previous head coaching experience was as an interim in Miami, where he ran up-down drills and generally came off as an overly exuberant seventh-grade coordinator.
It is not a name that will thrill Lions fans, who honestly have never had a reason to be thrilled. But all is not lost. Listening to Dan Orlovsky reacting to the news on the Pat McAfee Show, there's a very specific reason Campbell could be a good fit in Detroit.
Like Orlovsky, the former tight end played there — a three-year stint from 2006-2008. So he understands the unique challenges that come with drawing a paycheck from the organization.
This, of course, was something that couldn't be said for Matt Patricia. Anyone with any sense of history understood that Patricia didn't understand the scope of the rebuild and the shared history. He preached about sitting up straight and dressing nice, completely oblivious to what amounts to decades of collective trauma and disappointment that have led most sane Michiganders to approach the latest coach in a never-ending string of underachieving coaches with the same type of caution you hope your kids have toward the show.
Orlovsky adds that Campbell is respected by his peers, will value toughness, and has the capacity to put together an above-average staff. In short, this could be a winning formula because it takes the lessons learned by the Patricia disaster and seeks to apply them.
If it isn't Campbell, whomever gets the gig would be well-served to have a thorough understanding of what makes football in Detroit both so exasperating and the opportunity available for someone to lead the Honolulu blue and silver out of the blackest of nights.