Rod Wood is helping Detroit Lions make roster decisions. Here’s why

Detroit Free Press

Dave Birkett
 
| Detroit Free Press

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Rod Wood is part of a six-man decision-making group that has met regularly to discuss and carry out transactions since the firing of Bob Quinn and Matt Patricia last month, but the Detroit Lions president said his role in the group is purely as a facilitator.

“We have plenty of smart football people around that are way smarter than me, and those are the ones that I listen to,” Wood told the Free Press on Monday. “I just try to make sure that, little things — if we’re trying to add somebody to the roster and that means we have to make a decision on somebody else, well, have they thought it through?

“Have we thought through the consequences of that? Have we thought through the salary cap consequences, if there are any? Have we thought through how’s that going to sell in the locker room and what does everybody think of this particular player, and are we better off or worse off after the decision? Those are the kind of questions I’m asking.”

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Interim Lions coach Darrell Bevell revealed Monday that he met with Wood, vice president of player personnel Kyle O’Brien, director of player personnel Lance Newmark, director of pro scouting Rob Lohman and vice president of football administration Mike Disner last week before the team released receiver Marvin Hall.

Wood came to the Lions with a background in investment banking and famously declared, “I’m not a football guy,” after he joined the team in an official capacity in November 2015.

At the time, he said he probably would “not be directly involved in personnel decisions,” but would assist with the financial side of moves.

The Lions’ seventh receiver, Hall’s roster status seems trivial to a team president, especially one with ongoing coach and general manager searches, though Bevell, a first-time head coach, said he appreciates the discourse of Lions’ de facto GM group.

“Great communication,” Bevell said. “Great conversations. And I think everybody’s able to bring a little bit different thought to it and perspective. So first week, so far, so good.”

Asked if Wood had a vote in what to do with Hall, Bevell said, “Well, I mean, he’s definitely in the conversation, yes.”

Wood, who oversees the group as the Lions’ senior executive, said, “I’m not making the final decision, nor is anybody else. It’s kind of a group effort.”

“My role is to facilitate discussion amongst all the people that should have a voice on these kind of decisions and make sure we reach a consensus, which so far we have on everything,” he said.

Along with transactions, Bevell said the group meets to discuss things like game day inactives and practice participation reports.

Quinn, who was fired Nov. 28, reported to Wood in his role as GM. As such, he would have kept Wood informed of moves like Hall’s release, though Wood typically would not have been in the meetings where those decisions occurred.

Several potential GM candidates are known to have concerns about the structure of the Lions’ front office, and reporting to a nonfootball executive other than owner Sheila Ford Hamp.

Hamp said during her video conference to announce the firing of Quinn and Patricia that she had “no plans to change what Rod is doing,” but she acknowledged the structure of the Lions’ front office could alter based on who the team hires as coach and GM.

“We’re looking at some organizational chart moves and it’s all going to be part of this process,” she said.

Contact Dave Birkett at dbirkett@freepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @davebirkett. 

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