Brad Holmes’ advice to Dan Campbell when it comes to who calls offensive plays for the Detroit Lions next season is simple.
“It’s his football team,” Holmes said in his end-of-season news conference Tuesday. “And I told him, ‘Man, you need to do what you want.'”
Campbell usurped offensive play calling duties from coordinator Anthony Lynn midway through this season, and after firing Lynn on Monday reiterated that he is considering keeping those duties for 2022.
The Lions showed vast improvement offensively with Campbell calling plays, winning three of nine games and averaging 21.2 points and 323.9 yards per game.
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In eight games with Lynn as play caller, the Lions went 0-8 and averaged 16.8 points and 321.1 yards per game.
Tight ends coach Ben Johnson is in line for a promotion after serving as de facto pass game coordinator the final nine weeks, and is one candidate to succeed Lynn as coordinator.
Campbell said Johnson “did a hell of a job for us,” but said he’s in no rush to pick a future play caller.
“I think everything’s go to start with I think somewhat me deciding what I want to do and do I want to continue to call — want to is not the right word, it’s what I think is best for us and as a team, and I need to time to think about that,” Campbell said.
Holmes said he “fully supported” Campbell’s decision to take play calling during the Lions’ Week 9 bye and saw Campbell grow in the position over the final two months.
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“He kind of made a big move, a tough decision, but he did what was best for the team at that time, but after he did what’s best for the team, now he’s like, now he’s good at it,” Holmes said. “Now he keeps growing. I thought that was really, really, really cool to see.”
As for the future of the Lions offense, Holmes said Campbell will get plenty of advice on who to hire, but in the end, “if he wants to call plays, he should call plays.”
“If he doesn’t, he doesn’t,” Holmes said. “I know that he’s going to make the best decision for the Detroit Lions at the end of the day. That’s what he always has. I know that he will, but me personally, I don’t know — I thought he did a good job, but I’m sure he’ll make the best decision.”
Holmes was non-committal Tuesday about Trey Flowers’ future in Detroit.
Flowers has 10.5 sacks in 29 games with the Lions since signing a five-year, $90 million contract in 2019 that made him one of the highest-paid defensive players in the game.
He missed 10 games this season with knee and shoulder injuries and finished the season on injured reserve for the second straight year.
Flowers has a $23.2 million cap hit next season and is due a $1.625 million roster bonus in March that serves as an artificial deadline for the Lions to either bring him back under his current contract, try and renegotiate his deal or re-appropriate the money due to him elsewhere.
“With Trey, we’re talking about just the ultimate glue guy,” Holmes said. “Ultimate leader. He’s what we’re all about in terms of grit and being just a football player. So it was unfortunate when he had to deal with what he had to deal with. But again, those discussions are going to be for down the road.”
The Lions claimed safety Juju Hughes off waivers from the Los Angeles Rams and released six players from their practice squad: Geronimo Allison, Parker Ehinger, Nick Eubanks, Darrin Paulo, Nickell Robey-Coleman and Ross Travis.