February 7, 2023

DETROIT (AFP) – The Detroit Lions held a training camp at Ford Field on Saturday, hoping it would be a step toward gaining an advantage at home this season.

Last year, the Lions went 3-13-1 and had the fewest home attendances of any team in the NFL. In the past four years, they have won a total of nine home matches.

The Lions usually camp in Allen Park, but instead held an annual brawl at Ford Field, where 18,000 fans thronged their stadium, the most at the event since 2015.

“It’s unbelievable,” coach Dan Campbell told the audience before the workout. “I don’t believe you guys.”

Optimism does not come out of nowhere. After starting last season 0-10-1, the Lions finished with wins in three of their last six games, including three consecutive home wins.

“The last three games at home, the atmosphere has been good,” Campbell said. “We can feel it as players and as coaches. I would say they picked the right place where they left off, you know? It’s not easy. We sat there at the end of the year, and we won, and I got two. Listen, that’s a credit to our fans. .They got hope.”

Detroit spent its time trying to build that finish, especially on the offensive side of the ball. The Lions drafted Alabama wide Jameson Williams with the 12th overall pick and signed former Pro Bowl receiver DJ Chark to free agency.

While Williams remains sidelined with an ACL tear he suffered in the college football game, he showcased his talents in front of a Ford Field crowd on Saturday. During the melee, Chark picked up four passes for 76 yards and two touchdowns, including a 33-yard score that ended training.

“I really have high expectations for this team, and certainly for this offense,” Shark said after training. “And I want to do my best to live up to those.”

Since making the Pro Bowl in 2019, Chark has struggled to stay healthy. He missed three games for the Jacksonville Jaguars the following season, and an ankle fracture caused him to miss the final 13 games in 2021. Saturday was his first game on a football field since that injury.

“It was an amazing feeling,” Shark said. “It’s really the first time I’ve been here. Just looking around, getting the atmosphere, the fans are excited. I’m excited. It’s the first time I’ve been back in a stadium since September 30th or something, so I’m just enjoying it and enjoying it.” “.

Despite the optimism, Campbell knows that these feelings won’t last long if the team doesn’t live up to it. The Lions have not played in the playoffs since 2016 and haven’t won a playoff game since 1992. Campbell is recognized regularly in the Detroit area in his second year as the Lions’ top, but he knows the tone of those encounters will change if his team doesn’t start with a win.

“It’s so much better when you win,” Campbell said. “When you lose, it’s like, ‘Hey coach, take this. “We’re in a good place now. We just have to get a little better. That’s what we have to do.”

Notes: CB Jeff Okudah did not participate in Saturday’s brawl, marking the second consecutive practice he missed. … De Josh Paschal in the second round remains sidelined after undergoing surgery for a sports hernia in the spring, but Campbell said Paschal is ahead of schedule in his recovery. …S CJ Moore was removed from the list of non-football related injuries on Friday.


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