The Brad Holmes-Dan Campbell era in Detroit officially kicks off Tuesday, with the introductory press conference for Holmes.
The duo is tasked with rebuilding a Lions team that has hit rock bottom, after the failed Bob Quinn-Matt Patricia tenure.
Quinn joined the Lions in 2016 as the franchise's general manager. He inherited Jim Caldwell as his head coach, and proceeded to go 9-7 in both seasons that he worked alongside Caldwell.
Then, in the following offseason, after Caldwell had been dismissed, he hired his friend and former colleague from the New England Patriots in Patricia to serve as the team's new head coach.
Things immediately started off rocky, with Patricia alienating veterans such as Darius Slay and losing control of the locker room.
As time went on, the losses began to pile up, too.
In Patricia's three years on the sidelines, the organization went 13-29-1, with no playoff appearances.
It ultimately led to the firing of both Patricia and Quinn this past season, after the team's Week 12 defeat at the hands of the Houston Texans.
Enter Holmes and Campbell, who are left to clean up the mess and instill a winning culture both on and off the field.
Speaking of "culture," it was a heavily emphasized element in the franchise's search for its replacements for Quinn and Patricia.
"We developed very specific criteria for both positions that we’re looking for that are unique. Not totally unique, but we think in some cases, very unique to our situation," team president Rod Wood said in his season-ending press conference. "I won’t share all of them with you, but I would say they focus on leadership, culture, teamwork (and) 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."
After the noted failures of the past regime, ownership approached this hiring cycle in a different fashion.
In 2018, Quinn was allowed to handpick Patricia for Detroit's head coaching vacancy.
This time around, Sheila Ford Hamp, who took over as the team's principal owner for her mother Martha Firestone Ford this past year, and Wood weren't "wed" to the traditional structure of hiring a general manager first and then having him pick his own head man.
"We’re not really wed to a structure, and we’re not wed to waiting for a GM to be hired to find the head coach," Wood told reporters. "As we’ve gone through the interview process with both GM and head coaching candidates, we’ve been sharing our ideas, and they’ve been sharing with us their ideas on who a good coach would be if it was a general manager candidate -- and vice-versa if it was a head coaching candidate. So, there’s going to be no surprise I don’t think at the end (with) who we end up hiring on both sides."
Case in point, Hamp and Wood, along with the help of special assistant Chris Spielman, tabbed Holmes to be the organization's next GM mere days before word started to spread that Campbell would be hired to replace Patricia.
The trio of Hamp, Wood and Spielman conducted all of the franchise's formal interviews with its various head coach candidates, including Campbell. Not Holmes.
Wood wants Campbell and Holmes to work in partnership with each other, rather than have "one working for the other."
"What we’re looking for is people that can work together and be partners, and not one working for the other necessarily. So, it doesn’t require us to hire a general manager first," Wood said. "It may work out that way because we’re a little bit ahead of the general manager search, relative to the head coaching search. But, if we find the perfect head coach and we’ve not yet found a general manager, we’re not going to wait on the coach."
In every sense of the word, this is an arranged marriage between Holmes and Campbell.
It's either going to be an epic disaster and go up in flames. Or it's going to end up being a roaring success -- no pun intended -- and Lions ownership will be lauded for years to come for the way in which it handled the two searches.
I don't see any middle ground emerging by the end of their respective tenures in Motown.
Buckle up, Detroit fans. Things are about to get interesting in the Motor City.
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