In the End...Winning in the NFL is About Talent and Player Motivation

If a team has good players and they like their coaches that team is likely to win games.

I love the discussion on this board (normally). I learn a lot of things. I like the discussions about coaches, schemes, leadership versus coordinator experience and so on. If Dan Campbell is the hire I agree there are red flags already.

Buy past all that stuff winning in the NFL is about acquiring talent (the job of a GM) and getting those players to play hard and play well together. A GM hires a coach and helps assemble a staff. Then the head coach needs to get the team focused and playing well together.

Leadership and communication can be THE issue when it comes to player buy in.

In the end what KILLED Bob Quinn here wasn’t the inability to find real NFL talent. I have liked this roster the past two years overall. It was seeing communication problems developing, watching those issues create roster holes and doing nothing about it. Patricia created holes when players with NFL talent would not buy into his system. Bob Quinn also had a great communicator in Caldwell and he fired him and turned to Patricia. Rod Marinelli ended up chasing away talent too…but Rod and Matt Millen didn’t add enough talent to that roster. Matt Millen over time could not find NFL talent. Time and again Matt added guys who were just not good enough.

Martin Mayhew did a lot of good things including hiring Schwartz AND Caldwell. Martin’s undoing in the end was a failure of talent mostly. Just too many draft misses. Martin was pretty damn good at finding free agents. But too many misses and too many gambles that caught up to him in the end despite having a good coach.

Can Brad Holmes be at least as good or better than Bob Quinn in terms of securing talent and keeping the talent we DO have? That seems likely to me as Brad is a college scouting guy and Bob was a pro personnel guy at core. Yes, I think Brad Holmes will be able to add quality players in different rounds over time.

If Dan Campbell is Brad’s guy (and we assume Brad likes Campbell)…can we expect that Dan Campbell can at least get buy in from players and can Dan get these guys to play harder and better together? We will not know until we know. BUT…Dan is on record talking about how he communicates with players and treats guys differently in a way to motivate each player. That approach should be seen as a welcome change from Patricia.

Brad Holmes will be tested right out of the gate in terms of salary cap and a number of important Lion free agents. At the top is Golladay and Marvin Jones. Two really good free agents. I think retaining Romeo Okwara is a must as well. Give me those three guys back and I will be happy.

To me Dan Campbell’s main challenge is the defense and getting high end contributions from Jamie Collins for example (if we keep him). Dan needs to heal Tracy Walker (26 in February) who has talent and young safety Will Harris (just turned 25).

From there IF Brad can secure WR options in 2021 and beyond and retain Okwara…will he be able to add talent we need to fix this defense? That is the question. And if we add talent can Dan Campbell get what talent we do have as well as rookies on board quickly?

This isn’t easy at all. Brad is walking into a tough but not impossible cap situation (luckily with Mike Disner on board that should help) and he has a defense that is fractured to say the least. How can he deal with leadership and talent issues on that side of the football?

Again, adding talent and getting player buy in/communication is critical. Can Brad Holmes do his job and can Dan Campbell (if Dan is the hire) get player buy in quickly? I think these are the basic questions past just scheme and experience coordinating and experience running a front office.

it’s crazy how our cap went from terrible to pretty good to terrible again in such a short time. it’s going to be rough retooling an entire defense when you’re that short on cap space.


Its even crazier when you look one more year out and it cleans itself back up again. It appears Campbell is kind of stuck with the 2021 roster being what it is minus a few moves, but he will have lots of options in 2022.

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Brad represents a regime that is at the top of the NFC (2nd) in building a core group of veterans via the draft.

Quinn is last.

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It explains why they kept $20 million on the books this year to roll over into next year… 4 contracts take a big step up in 2021… Stafford, Vaitai, Collins and Trufant… I think Trufant will be gone for sure this offseason. After 2021 they can cut ties with Vaitai and Flowers and free up about $25 million between the two of them.

Right Wes. Brad has a series of decisions to make immediately. There are three main Lions that are worthy of extensions:

  1. Golladay
  2. Marvin Jones
  3. Romeo Okwara

Brad also has to decision on who to cut to create room. We all know the names here.

Brad will also have to think about the draft too, ESP. that 1st rd. pick in terms of investment, player talent and scheme fit. To me the Lions will have to decide early between the top two WRs, the top DE (Roussseau…6’7" and 265+ pounds) or the top LBer in the class (Parsons). A WR or Parsons are more likely to be there.

To me you lock down the best NFL talent you can afford when possible. I would lock down Golladay and Jones if I can and also Okwara. Then I pick between Parsons and Rousseau…likely Parsons.

If Brad locks down Golladay AND Jones…WR id rd. 1 is not an option.

Cab Brad navigate these waters? Time will tell. And how he makes these decisions and adds talent without creating holes is critical before we really even think about coaching.

We don’t have to retool the defense, better Schame a quility rushing DT, and a quility LB or 2 and a playmaker a safety and resigning Okwara. The whole defense looks different.

Winning at the NFL also requires execution: mental side.


Right Abject. That is where the coaches come in.

Dan Campbell has to take an underrated roster and get them to play better. I know many here think this roster stinks and that is a credible opinion even if I don’t agree with it.

The Rod Marinelli comparisons come screaming through and that is a BIG Red Flag for Campbell. But right out of the gates Dan is in a different place than Rod. All of Rod’s professional experiences were tied to the Tampa Two under Dungy. When Rod arrived as a leader of men he alienated guys and brought in the only scheme he knew how to run on defense and we sucked up all old Tampa Bay players and tried to do their thing and it failed here.

In fact, if one looks at ALL Lion head coaches hired since Millen came here ALL of them were specialists in a specific system. Marty Morningweg was a West Coast guy as was Mooch. We went from Mooch to Rod and the Tampa Two but we also tried to be the Rams under Martz on offense. From there we went to the Wide 9 4-3 scheme under Schwartz. Caldwell wasn’t tied to one scheme overall but he hired Joe Lombardi who tried to install the Saints offense here in 2014 and that failed. With Patricia we tried that defense run by Billy B. in New England. Oops.

IF Dan is the guy here none of us know what he will install. That is kind of weird for a Lions coach 20+ years in. Refreshing maybe? That is why there is a thread on who Dan might hire as coordinators.

Frankly, if Dan is such a strong leader he should at least consider keeping Darrell Bevell as a lot of what Darrell has done here has worked.


Rod is a good example of why you don’t keep a coach after 2 losing seasons to start his career, unless its unusual circumstances. Rod had us at 6-2 in 2007 but then lost damn near every game for the rest of the season. As you said, he alienated some players and he ended up shipping those guys out of town. Hopefully Dan will try to coach the guys we have instead of making the same mistake Rod did…thinking you can win football games with effort instead of size and talent.

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That year we went 6-2 to start the season we were waaay ahead in the turnover department IIRC, we stopped getting turnovers and everything fell apart.

The 2008 team was terrible at getting turnovers. We only had 4 INTs all season, compared to 17 the year before. Patricia’s defenses have been almost as bad at getting interceptions, having gotten only 7 in all 3 years he was here. This years team gave up 38 TD passes to only 7 INTs. That’s incredible!


Right on Wes.

To me we need to see how Brad uses resources in $ and draft picks. I am really curious to see him get started as he has so many early decisions to make…

And if the coach IS Dan…how does he get buy in from the guys we currently have? Or does he take a “my way or the highway” approach and ship out guys too? I think that is unlikely.

I honestly think the Lions should lock down Golladay and Marvin Jones. But hell, Brad can maybe think Marvin is damn good…combine Marvin’s lower contract with a 1st rd. rookie top WR and re-use those dollars on defense? That would be viable. Only time will tell.

Add talent, don’t create holes nd task you coach with getting guys on the same page.

In the first half of 2007 we were +8 in turnovers, in the 2nd half we were -9… OUCH

Kitna fumbled 17 times and threw 20 INTs that year… Only 18 TDs… He was also sacked 51 times

7 in 3 years is legitimately amazing.

That’s insanity.