Lions head coach Dan Campbell and general manager Brad Holmes had the chance to speak with Detroit media on a variety of topics Tuesday.
Here are four overall takeaways from their respective press conferences.
Familiarity will play a factor in free agency
Although player familiarity to the Lions coaching staff and front office won't be the be-all and end-all of determining which players the organization targets in free agency this offseason, it will certainly be a factor.
"That doesn’t mean that we’re going to have all players from New Orleans here. Now, does that mean that if there’s some players from New Orleans, yeah, because I know who they are. And, Brad (Holmes) and I talk about this all the time. It’s not even so much what you think they can do, (but) it’s that you know what their downside is," Campbell told reporters Tuesday. "That’s different than anything else, (as) in free agency, you don’t always know what all the warts are. You do when you’ve been with these guys, and sometimes, you’re harder on your own guys when you’re around them longer. But, I’ve said this before and the staff knows this, man, Brad’s been at the Rams, so has (assistant general manager) Ray Agnew (Jr.), right? Duce (Staley) has been at Philly. (Inside linebackers coach) Mark DeLeone has been at Chicago. I mean, so yes. But, that doesn’t mean that they are all going to be from one team."
Duce Staley is being groomed to be an NFL head coach
Staley, who spent time on the Philadelphia Eagles' coaching staff from 2011-20, including as the assistant head coach for the last three years of his stint in Philadelphia, enters his first season with the Lions in 2021.
He'll serve as the team's running backs coach and as Campbell's assistant head man.
Campbell's going to make sure that Staley isn't just "a token assistant head coach" during his time in the Motor City.
"I told Duce when I was on the phone with him, when I thought that he was about to get out of Philly, or he was thinking about it, I told him, ‘Look, you’re not going to be a token assistant head coach,'" Campbell said. "I’m going to use him, and I plan on using him for some media obligations. I plan on him being a part of -- we had him in during our player evaluations on the whole offense and defense, though he wasn’t able to be in there very long because he had to go back with A-Lynn (offensive coordinator Anthony Lynn) and work offensively. But, I’m going to keep him abreast of the cap and things of that nature, what we’re trying to do with free agency, guys that I know, even if they’re on defense, I want him to have a hand in. I already told him I want him to look over the fine schedule and (we) sit down together. So, I’m going to use this guy. I mean, he’s going to be primed and ready to be a head coach when it’s all said and done."
Campbell has a ton of respect for Staley as a coach.
He added, "I’ve got a lot of respect for Duce, and I think he’s a hell of a man. I think he’s a hell of a coach, and I really do, I believe he’s going to be a head coach in this league sooner than later. Now, hopefully later than sooner, but I know it’s going to happen.”
Holmes' take on college opt-outs
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, a number of college football players decided to opt out of playing in 2020.
Some potential top draft picks did, as well, including a highly-discussed target of the Lions at No. 7 overall in Penn State linebacker Micah Parsons.
On Tuesday, Holmes shared his thoughts on how Detroit will evaluate college opt-outs going into this April's NFL Draft.
"I don’t want to say that you punish a player for doing an opt-out. At the end of the day, there’s some very good football players that have chosen to opt out. It just makes sure that it actually holds you more accountable from an evaluation standpoint and a process standpoint, which is what we’re doing," Holmes said. "It hasn’t deterred us in any part of the process, in terms of he’s going to get punished or he’s going to get pushed down the line because he has been an opt-out."
Holmes will be looking to add "depth" to the roster at a number of areas this offseason
Adding depth will be key to the Lions' roster-building strategy.
"As what Dan was saying earlier, to add competition, I think that that will fuel any spot anywhere across the whole defense. From an offensive standpoint, it’s kind of the same thing. Do we feel pretty good about where we are from an offensive line standpoint? Yeah. I mean we’re returning starters back that have played at a high level. But, we also need depth," Holmes commented. "We’ve got to deal with that reality, forbid anything happens. But, we’ve got to be prepared that not even from a development standpoint, but (also that) it’s a long season. You need depth at all areas."
Holmes noted that wide receiver, with Kenny Golladay, Marvin Jones Jr. and Danny Amendola all set to be free agents, is a position in need of some further depth.
"Obviously, from a receiver standpoint, there’s some decisions that still have to be made in regard to how we’ll approach it with Kenny (Golladay), and obviously, just adding more pieces there and more depth there," Holmes said. "I know that you probably look at the roster now and say, ‘Well, who are you going to add? It looks thin at that position.’ I will say through my experience, even back with the Rams, I want to say it was probably 2017 that our receiver room flipped pretty quickly within a year. The Rams were able to add some quality pieces pretty quickly. To be able to follow a similar kind of a blueprint or path or having the experience of seeing how that works and being involved in that process, it’s something that I feel confident, Dan and I feel confident about us being able to take a similar process.”