“None of us are as smart as all of us.”
There might not be a better quote to epitomize the coaching philosophy of the Dan Campbell regime with the Detroit Lions. It’s a collective approach that embraces divergent voices and puts selfish agendas aside.
Campbell wasn’t the man who said the above quote. Assistant head coach and RB coach Scottie Montgomery made the astute declaration prior to Wednesday’s practice session.
Montgomery showed his personal intelligence on several questions, offering thoughtful responses that reflect his background as a former collegiate head coach. He noted how empowered he is by Campbell to lead the team in his own way and how there is collective trust amongst the coaching staff.
“He’s put me in front of the team on several occasions now,” Montgomery said of the head coach. “He gives me different abilities to not only interject things that I’ve learned before, from a schematical standpoint but also some leadership capabilities. We’re trying to grow the team.”
Montgomery noted the theme of continuity and collective vision.
“The things that it takes from being good to great, and then from great to unstoppable, a lot of that has nothing to do with scheme. It has to do with fit, it has to do with timing. But it also has to do with the ability of the coaches to understand that it’s a player-led team.”
The mission of developing a true team that values input from all its coaches, as well as the players, is perhaps the biggest hallmark of the Lions regime under Campbell and GM Brad Holmes. Montgomery encapsulated that concept, too.
“When I do have the ability to stand in front of the team, I’m not standing in front of the team. Dan is standing in front of the team, AG (defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn) is standing in front of the team and Ben (offensive coordinator Ben Johnson) is standing in front of the team. I’m simply the guy speaking the words.”
That sort of selfless attitude and servant leadership has helped several coaches land opportunities for higher positions outside the organization. Montgomery, who has had interviews for NFL head coaching positions in the past, didn’t want to think that far ahead.
“Right now, you know what I want to be? I want to be the best at what I’m doing,” Montgomery said. “What I’ve found is that, as long as I’m continuing to do that, the progression (in a coaching career) will happen.”