Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

Deebo Samuel brings another dimension to the 49ers offense, says Lions coach Dan Campbell

Sep 7, 2021 at 10:59 AM--

Detroit Lions head coach Dan Campbell is busy planning for the San Francisco 49ers, his Week 1 opponent on Sunday. One of many versatile offensive weapons that Campbell and his coaching staff have to prepare for is wide receiver Deebo Samuel, a player with whom the head coach is very familiar.

When Samuel entered the draft in 2019, Campbell was an assistant with the New Orleans Saints.

"Well, I remember when he was coming out, I loved the player too," Campbell told reporters on Monday (h/t to Dalton Johnson of NBC Sports Bay Area). "I know we did when I was in New Orleans. But I think what makes him unique is his ability to carry the football. Not just run after catch, but his ability to -- these turbo, these fly sweeps.

"He can do some things out of the backfield as a runner and a route runner, and I just think there's a ton of versatility with him because when you can use a guy like that as a ... shoot, man, call it ... he's like a punt returner but on your offense. You get him in space. You can throw him the bubbles. You [can] give him the fly sweeps. You can put him in the backfield. You can hand him the ball a little bit if you want to, but you can also let him run the routes."

Samuel is entering his third NFL season. He flashed as a rookie in 2019, hauling in 57 receptions for 802 yards with three touchdowns through the air and three more on the ground through 15 games and 11 starts. However, like much of the 49ers roster last season, the receiver was plagued with injuries, appearing in only seven games with five starts. That limited Samuel to just 33 receptions for 391 yards with one touchdown.

Campbell knows Samuel presents a unique challenge, though.

"I think it brings another dimension to your offense," Campbell continued. "And I know for me, that's what makes it hard from a defensive perspective, watching him, is there's so many different things you can do [with] him. And when he gets on the perimeter, and he's into it, and he's got his speed built up, he's dangerous. And I think that's what it is. It's his versatility."

San Francisco is currently listed as a 7.5-point favorite against Detroit.

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