| Detroit Free Press
Detroit Lions hire Dan Campbell: Will series of firsts work this time?
Dave Birkett and Carlos Monarrez break down the Detroit Lions hiring Dan Campbell as their new head coach on Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021.
Dave Birkett and Carlos Monarrez, Detroit Free Press
Detroit Lions owner Sheila Ford Hamp and president Rod Wood deserve credit for this much: They’ve done a good job defining the culture they want for their team.
During his news conference at season’s end, Wood outlined what he, Hamp and the search group would be looking for in general manager and coaching candidates.
“I won’t share all of them with you,” Wood told reporters Jan. 5, “but I would say they focus on leadership, culture, teamwork, awareness of each other’s strengths and weaknesses. And what we’re really looking for is a culture that is open, inclusive, where everybody is pulling together as a team and, in one word, communication is paramount and everybody is doing the right thing for the Detroit Lions.”
When the Lions introduced Brad Holmes as general manager Tuesday, Wood reiterated the culture sought in the candidates.
QB QUESTION: Holmes sounds like he wants to keep Matthew Stafford
MEET BRAD HOLMES: Why the Lions might have a superstar GM
“Sheila mentioned how we invested in developing criteria for the search,” Wood said, “and I want to read a few of these very specific criteria to you. I know we’ve talked about it before, Sheila alluded to it, but we all had this on a piece of paper. And as she mentioned, we were grading people against these criteria. And I want to read a few to you that Brad stood out amongst: ‘Culture builder. 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. …’
“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.”
While it was apparent to Wood and Hamp that Holmes met the criteria to instill a new culture inside the Lions’ Allen Park headquarters, the new GM mostly did not work inside the Los Angeles Rams’ headquarters while he served as the team’s college scouting director the past eight years.
But Holmes said he has had a grounding of working inside of the Rams’ facility while filling various roles over his 18 seasons with the team.
“When I started with the Rams in St. Louis, I was inside that building for close to a decade and within that time I was able to learn how everything works,” said Holmes, who started his career as a public-relations intern with the team in 2003. “I was able to learn how the pro side worked, how the college side worked, how the football operations worked.
“I was very fortunate within my role, especially at the early stages (when) I did a lot of work with the coaching staff. And through that time, I really got a very good appreciation and understanding of how everything operated from an entire football operations standpoint.”
When the Rams moved to L.A. in 2016, Holmes moved to Atlanta but he said he still commuted frequently and remained engaged with the team’s various personnel efforts.
“And even since the team relocated to L.A., and I was in Atlanta, I spent an extraordinarily long amounts of time in L.A.,” he said, “all the way to the point where I almost qualified for residency out there in California, and in really critical times, too. Long amounts of time as we’re ramping up for postseason play, long amounts of time as we’re getting ready for free agency, in that building for long extended amounts of time as we’re getting ready for the combine, and then obviously through the entire draft process.
“So that’s a part that I feel very confident in, in terms of my experience that I’ve spent inside the building, both not only in St. Louis but also in Los Angeles.”
Contact Carlos Monarrez at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @cmonarrez.