Alright, the 2020 season was the first season with owner Shelia Ford Hamp at the helm. While she didn’t make any changes when she officially took over in June, she started to put her fingerprint on the team when she decided to let Head Coach Matt Patricia and General Manager Bob Quinn go in late November. This officially ended the experiment of the Lions trying to go the Patriots way, which looks more and more like the Tom Brady way. With a clean slate, the future of the Lions are lie solely with the decisions that Mrs. Hamp makes.
The first move made, as it should be, was the hiring of a new General Manager. Mrs. Hamp has tasked the Los Angeles Rams Director of College Scouting, Brad Holmes to lead the transformation of the Lions. The next order of business was announced once the New Orleans Saints were bounced from the playoffs by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. That’s when we learned that Saints Assistant Head Coach and Tight Ends Coach Dan Campbell or “The Dude” as he likes to be called, will be the next Head Coach of the Lions. Campbell is bringing with him Aaron Glenn, the Defensive Backs Coach for the Saints to be the Lions new Defensive Coordinator. To round out the staff, former Los Angeles Chargers Head Coach Anthony Lynn will serve as the Offensive Coordinator. The Lions have also hired well respected former Browns and Chiefs General Manager John Dorsey, to a front office position to advise first time GM Brad Holmes. The Lions have done a great job building out the staff in quick order and should be able to build a game plan for the offseason fairly quickly. Now lets dig in a little further on the hires and we will start with Brad Holmes.
Brad Holmes is 41 years old and has spent the last 18 years working up the scouting ladder with the Los Angeles Rams organization. First, as a scouting assistant, then combine scout, then area scout, then national scout and for the last 8 years he has been the director of college scouting. His recommendations have included Aaron Donald, Jared Goff, Todd Gurley, and Cooper Kupp. He was integral in the Rams trading up in the 2016 draft to get Jared Goff. Now Goff has been up and down, but he has taken the Rams to the Super Bowl and has been proven to be a playoff caliber QB. He was also in the conversations that involved high caliber players like Brandin Cooks and Jalen Ramsey. If Nothing else it proves that Holmes will not be afraid to go for it when he truly believes in something. His meteoric rise is a sign that he has confidence and projects a sense of accomplishing what needs to be done. The Lions have for the most part stunk at building teams from the draft. I think we will see a shakeup in the scouting department as Holmes will bring in guys he trusts and are like minded.
New Head Coach Dan Campbell is a football guy. He eat, sleeps, dreams football. As his nameplate in his office states he likes to be called “The dude”. Campbell is without a doubt more of a players coach than his predecessor Matt Patricia. He is going to let his coordinators do their job. Now, Campbell is no stranger to the Lions. He was on the infamous Lions team that finished the season with a 0-16 record. The Campbell hiring is interesting as he has never been a coordinator and with most of the big name Coordinators available the Lions chose him. It seems that the Lions are more focused on building a team, than trying to replicate what another organization is good at. I’m guessing that they were looking for a leader of the team rather than a certain system or philosophy.
New Defensive Coordinator Aaron Glenn is coming off of a season where the Saints defense ranked 4th overall and forced the second most turnovers. The Saints defense has been very solid the last couple of years and it has a lot to do with Glenns secondary. This will be an adjustment as Glenn hasn’t called the Defensive plays in his career but with low expectations to start, it will give him time to learn how best to utilize his defense.
New Offensive coordinator and former Los Angeles Chargers head coach Anthony Lynn, comes to the Lions after having consistently top 10 offenses. He got the most out of the end of Phillip Rivers career and if rookie Justin Herbert is any indication, Lynn can develop a quarterback. The biggest weakness for Lynn was always time management and late game decisions. Hopefully Campbell will take this responsibility off of his plate and he can focus solely on the offense.
Now the John Dorsey hiring isn’t official at the time of this writing, but enough sources have reported it, that I am comfortable that it is going to happen. Just to top line Dorsey’s background, he is largely responsible for what we are seeing from the Browns and the Chiefs. He has had a part of both of those teams and both of them have some of the more talented rosters. His guidance will be huge for new GM Brad Holmes and with his recent track record you have to be pretty optimistic about adding him to the organization.