Dan Campbell knows just how lucky the New Orleans Saints were last season that receiver Deebo Samuel was inactive last season for the 49ers' contest at the Superdome.
Campbell, who was the Saints' associate head coach for the last five years, now is the Detroit Lions' head coach. And he is doing everything he can to prepare his team for the versatile offensive weapon ahead of their Week 1 matchup against the 49ers.
"I remember when he was coming out, I loved the player too," Campbell said Monday to reporters. "I know we did when I was in New Orleans.
"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.
"When you can use a guy like that, he's like a punt returner but on your offense. You get him in space, you can throw him the bubbles, you 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.
"It brings another dimension to your offense. I know for me, that's what makes it hard from defensive perspective watching him. There's so many different things you can do. And when he gets on the perimeter and he's into it and he's got his speed built up, he's dangerous. I think that's what it is -- it's his versatility."
Campbell saw firsthand in New Orleans how dangerous Samuel can be in 2019. As a rookie, the South Carolina product had five receptions for 76 yards, plus two carries for 33 more yards in the 49ers' 48-46 win on the road.
That's 109 total yards from San Francisco's Swiss Army knife.
Samuel was held to only seven games last season due to injury and COVID-19. Starting this Sunday in Detroit, he's out to show Campbell and the rest of the league how dangerous and versatile he can be in Year 3.