Detroit Lions GM Brad Holmes will 'collaborate' with new coach on building roster
Brad Holmes clearly impressed Sheila Ford Hamp.
The Detroit Lions' owner on Tuesday was effusive in her praise for Holmes, who she said “blew away” the competition and became a unanimous general manager choice among the 12 candidates the team interviewed.
What wasn’t so clear is who will ultimately have final say on control of roster decisions.
Team president Rod Wood was among the four people who led the search, which included Hamp, adviser Chris Spielman and Mike Disner, vice president of football administration. Wood indicated shared decision-making power between Holmes and the incoming coach — expected to be Dan Campbell.
“Brad and our new head coach will be collaborating on the 53-man roster,” Wood said during the conference call. “They’re each going to have input. As we’ve talked about — we want a culture where everyone’s working together, and I think that will work fine once we have our new head coach in place.
“Mike will be doing all the things he has been doing, just picking up some of the in-house football administration stuff so Brad can focus on finding players. Both Mike and Brad and our new head coach will report directly to Sheila and me. There won’t be a structure where there’s layers between any of them and Sheila and me.”
Wood was pressed to clarify who would have final say on the roster, but offered no more clarity: “I’ll answer it the same way — the head coach and the general manager are going to collaborate on it.”
Under the previous regime, GM Bob Quinn had roster control and Disner and coach Matt Patricia reported to him.
Holmes also suggested a collaborative effort when he discussed his approach to building and controlling the roster.
“Initially, right immediately, once the head coach is on board, I want to make sure that we sit down and make sure that I am in direct alignment and full understanding of what his philosophy is and what his vision is,” he said. “I’ve always had this question of, ‘Well, what is your vision of the team?’ I can tell you what I want it to look like, but truly it is the head coach’s vision. He’s the face of the team. He’s the voice of the team.
“So I want to make sure like I was saying about the service role as a GM, I want to make sure that I’m providing the head coach and aiding him with the best possible resources to make sure that his system and philosophy is running at an elite level. So that’s first and foremost that will have to happen and once we get that on board then I think that’ll be a great start of a process of how we’ll dive into the initial outset of free agency and what those plans are, and to make sure that we’re bringing in players that truly, truly fit.”
As for Holmes’ qualifications, Hamp said they were overwhelming and that everything about him gave her confidence.
“Well, I mean everything about Brad, as they say, stood out to us,” she said. “We had this process, which really was amazing, and the more we did it, I think the better we got at it and the better we got at evaluating people. And so, when we would have our debrief at the end of each interview, we would all say what we thought and then someone might say something semicritical or something about somebody and we’d discuss it, whatever.
“When we finished with Brad, I think I went first that time, and all I said was, ‘Wow.’ Just, wow. He just was everything we were looking for and, as I said, extremely intelligent, amazing communicator, collaborative. The way he described how he goes about his job, he hit on all fronts. So I think he was our only unanimous, right-off-the bat discussion. It was great.”
Wood read from an extensive list of criteria for the search and how Holmes stacked up against it.
“ ‘Culture builder,” Wood said as he read from his notes. “ ‘Being open, inclusive, supportive, engaging and an excellent listener. The ability to lead a diverse team, many of whom work on the road…,’ certainly, Brad can relate to this, ‘… and outside of the building on a regular basis. Someone with excellent self-awareness, acknowledging what they don’t know and building a team around them to cover their weaknesses. Working with our head coach as a partner in a positive and productive relationship, and most important maybe for the general manager, the ability to balance the team needs of today and the team needs of the future and be a steward for the long-term success of the organization.’
“Against those criteria, I can tell you that Brad blew away the competition and stood out, which is part of the reason he’s here today.”
Contact Carlos Monarrez at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @cmonarrez.