| Detroit Free Press
Debating what to look for in Detroit Lions next head coach
The guys discuss the Lions’ loss to the Packers, what to look for in next head coach, Matthew Stafford’s future and more, Dec. 14, 2020.
The Detroit Lions are expected to interview a wide range of candidates for both their head coach and general manager jobs. They began GM interviews in early December, and are expected to continue talking to candidates for both positions into early 2021. As part of an ongoing series, here is a look at one known candidate on the Lions’ list:
Current role: Detroit Lions vice president of player personnel.
Background: O’Brien spent the last five seasons as Bob Quinn’s first lieutenant, where he played a major role in the acquisition of talent on both the pro and college side. He was the Jacksonville Jaguars’ director of college scouting for three seasons (2013-15) before coming to Detroit, spent one season as a national scout with the Kansas City Chiefs and wore a variety of hats for 10 years with the New England Patriots after graduating from Harvard, where he played lacrosse.
When interviewed: Week of Dec. 7.
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Why he makes sense: O’Brien is a no-stones-left-unturned type of evaluator — I once ran into him in New York City before a Lions game as he was going to scout, if I remember right, Fordham — who has a strong reputation in league circles. He is currently part of the Lions’ de facto general manager group that has been making roster decisions since Quinn’s dismissal last month.
Why he doesn’t: It seems highly unlikely the Lions moved on from both their coach and general manager only to promote from within. The organization is looking for a fresh start, and in all likelihood an experienced hand at either the coach or GM position. O’Brien might be a GM in the NFL eventually, but it will likely happen in another place.
Contact Dave Birkett at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @davebirkett.