Dan Campbell explains why the Lions didn’t play starters at all in the preseason

Unless you were at Detroit Lions training camp, you haven’t seen Jared Goff, Aidan Hutchinson or any of the team’s starters in action yet in 2023. Head coach Dan Campbell elected to keep all the starters, as well as some key reserves, in street clothes on the sidelines for the team’s three preseason games.

Campbell was asked about the philosophy of not playing the starters in the preseason and the merits of not risking critical injuries versus getting game reps. He cited the physical nature of the Lions’ practices and the joint practice sessions with the Giants and Jaguars as key factors in the decision.

“For me, it was always going to be about — the nature of the way we practice,” Campbell said. “We’re pretty physical, I think relative to most teams in the league. And we had two joint practices, two teams that we had joint practices with that were going to be pretty physical.

To me, that was — those were going to serve as building blocks to get our core (starters) ready. Just knowing where we were this game at (preseason finale vs. the Panthers) relative to playing K.C. (the Chiefs in Week 1), at that point you’re under two weeks, I just didn’t feel like it was worth the risk.”

Campbell did acknowledge that several veteran starters did ask to get in some preseason action.

“Oh yeah, we got some of those guys,” Campbell said with a proud smile. He broke down the ripple effects of playing one starter and how it would lead to playing all starters, something that he just wasn’t comfortable doing.

“It’s either all or nothing in that regard, particularly offensively.”

The third-year coach did say,

“I feel good about what we did.”

Story originally appeared on Lions Wire