Dan Campbell's staff is notable for its composition, which is largely of former NFL players, and it might end up producing a future head coach if the new one has his way.
Campbell spoke with reporters Tuesday and was asked about the potential of assistant Duce Staley, a longtime assistant in Philadelphia who has garnered attention and momentum as a head coach candidate in the not-so-distant future, buoyed by his dual title of assistant head coach and running backs coach.
"I told him, 'You're not going to be a token assistant head coach,'" Campbell said of Staley. "I'm going to use him. We had him in during our player evaluations on the whole offense and defense -- though he wasn't able to be in there very long because he had to go back with [offensive coordinator Anthony] Lynn and work offensively. But I'm going to keep him abreast of the cap and things of that nature, what we're trying to do with free agency."
Campbell had a five-year stint with the Saints from 2016-2020 serving as assistant head coach and tight ends coach, where he learned under Saints coach Sean Payton. That time with New Orleans followed a short time spent as Miami's interim head coach, where he posted a 5-7 mark with the Dolphins before he departed for New Orleans following the conclusion of the 2015 season.
Point being, though this is Campbell's first actual head coaching job in the NFL, he knows what it takes -- or at least understands how to pave the road to get there.
"He's going to be primed and ready to be a head coach when it's all said and done. All his bases are going to be covered," Campbell said. "He's going to be able to check off every box and say I've been there, I've done that. I know, I've been training for this -- just like Sean [Payton] did for me. He's going to be a true assistant head coach. And if something goes down and he needs to step in into my seat, he's ready to roll. So that's how I view it."
Staley spent 10 seasons as a running back in the NFL, with the majority of it (seven years) coming with the Eagles. He moved across the state to Pittsburgh to finish his career before transitioning into coaching in 2011 as Philadelphia's special teams quality control coach, and has slowly climbed the ladder to his current position.
Before long, he might take the biggest leap of all, just like Campbell did this offseason. But first, he has a team to help turn around in Detroit.