Not only did the Lions not hire experienced guys to take over the HC and GM spots, they didn’t even hire guys who were in the next logical position…like Assistant GM or coordinator. We got a director of college scouting and a TE coach (with the Rod Marinelli Asst HC title).
But one theme has emerged as I canvass people across the league about who fits the Lions and what the organization is looking for in its next hires: They might lean toward an experienced hand at one or both positions.
After the failed Patriot experiment — during which the Lions rolled the dice on a young, first-time general manager, who hired a young, first-time head coach, who was too obstinate in his ways — it makes sense to want a more seasoned hand who can shepherd the franchise through what looks to be a significant rebuild.
The Lions have gone the inexperienced route at general manager this entire century ( first with Matt Millen, then Martin Mayhew and most recently Quinn) and have three playoff appearances and no postseason victories to show for it. First-time coaches Patricia, Jim Schwartz, Rod Marinelli and Marty Mornhinweg had more losing seasons than winning ones, and the only near taste of success the Lions had was under a veteran coach in Jim Caldwell.
I’m coming to terms with the fact that this is more a tweak than a reset. I’ve been pretty convinced that BQ represented the sole direction for the owners and that Sheila was genuinely grieved by having to fire him because it left her rudderless on the football side.
I was wrong. We’ve mentioned Disner in other threads and how he actually should stay on, being as qualified as he is in his capacity. We, as fans, can’t help but think of everyone associated with this team as a “clown show” or “dumpster fire” and are inclined to think a new GM will bring massive changes. As I’m sitting here this morning, I don’t think they’re giving up on those whom they’ve invested in. I think they’ve literally just hired “leaders” that will set a tone and direction without necessarily abandoning the efforts of the last few years. Perhaps there is more infrastructure that the team values than I had considered. (Which is why they’re so accepting of inexperience at the top level in the new GM and HC.)
The Lions have gone the inexperienced route at general manager this entire century ( first with Matt Millen, then Martin Mayhew and most recently Quinn) and have three playoff appearances and no postseason victories to show for it. First-time coaches Patricia, Jim Schwartz, Rod Marinelli and Marty Mornhinweg had more losing seasons than winning ones, and the only near taste of success the Lions had was under a veteran coach in Jim Caldwell
The question is, did anybody with experience want this job?
This has to be the worst job in the league. A mismatch of a couple of decent young players and an old QB on offense, no #1 or #2 receiver, arguably the least talented defense in the league with limited cap space and draft picks to address vital needs. Not to mention the lengthy losing culture spanning six decades.
They probably had to “settle” for Holmes and Campbell once the dust cleared.
I would add that before Millen the Lions went Bobby Ross as the GM AND HC too.
It sure seems like this is a wash and repeat cycle but it really IS about the guys that were hired overall more so than the route to get there.
It is easy enough to see Mayhew as a mistake overall (despite not being terrible overall…) as he was not an experienced GM. Martin was never a scout of personnel director. He was a former player turned lawyer that worked for the Lions front office. Over time he simply had TOO many misses. He was a bit reckless swinging for the homerun pick every time. His fault wasn’t in a lack of experience overall…he choose to not learn from past mistakes. For example Martin watched Millen draft too many WRs and make bad picks later in the draft time and again. Yet Mathew did the same thing with DTs and then he took chance after chance in injury concern guys from Titus Young to Ryan Brolyes to Jahvid Best.
Martin fell to the “build another team model” in 2014 when we hired Lombardi then tried to find out Jimmy Graham…passing up the superior player in Donald because Martin maybe learned the wrong lessons about how to handle the DT position group!
Bob Quinn’s issues were less about experience and more about he only knew one scheme. He inherited Caldwell (a mistake to either keep him or not give him more time) but then turned to his boy as soon as he could. Quinn only knew that scheme with the Patriots and they tried to re-create that here. It failed. Bob made the same mistake taking Hock over DT Ed Oliver. Ed has been a forced later this season for the Bills but his counterpart Star Lotulelei has also been important for the Bills.
Any experience guy available was fired for a reason. You hope they learn from that but as we see from our own Lions sometimes righting past wrongs is hard. If Quinn would have opened his eyes in 2019 and fired Patricia he could maybe have kept his job but Bob went down with the ship he built. So ne it. Pride falls in the end.
The key is the person hired more so than the story around the man. Brad only has experience with the Rams but he has seen a LOT of change there including moving cities. Going from Jeff Fisher to McVay was as different as you are going to get. Aggressive. And Brad helped that turn around with sagacious decisions noting he had mostly 3rd rd. picks and later.
I am worried about rinse and repeat but I am interested to see if Brad avoids the big mistakes we have seen Lion GMs make since 2000.
The Campbell hire won’t bother me near as much as the Holmes hire does. At least Campbell has been there (Dolphins) and been around a good organization and HC as an assistant (Saints). Still scratching my head on the selection of Holmes.
See the reportes out now about the Lions new reporting structure.
The Lions not only hired a general manager they found a decision-making and reporting structure to copy and they hired a guy from the template organization:
So Brad gets to do the part of the job he is comfortable with, Mike Disner will manage non-essential football decisions and the head coach will have a reporting voice too. That empowers everyone and creates a better decision-making structure and shared vision structure.
To me that makes the Brad hiring critical s the Lions took the model and then a member of that model. Smart.
This isn’t stealing a scheme thing for a football team. It is maybe , maybe finally?, putting the Lions in a better decision-making place. That makes sense to me.
Filling any position should be all about hiring the right person. When people focus on “experienced” or OC/DC or higher, you are merely limiting the team and trying not to make a big mistake. Teams that draft like this generally fail. Teams that hire like this lack confidence in their own abilities, maybe for a reason here.
I give Mayhew more respect for what he did than ever with hindsight.
Including Mayhew , like brad , seemed to be more collaborator which is how lions got to Ebron
And I think BQ was as much , if not more of a problem than Patricia. With Patricia , I saw a guy change but too much damage had been done. We never saw BQ change imo so it’s hard to say how much he grew.
He could spot average nfl talent , maybe even decent nfl talent but I’m not sure that really is that hard.
He just seemed to not understand the people relationship management involved at GM
I don’t get the Stafford fixation that fans have. I suspect the Lions HC and GM hires have absolutely nothing to do with what they think of Stafford. It’s said that Holmes provided a brutally honest scouting report on their roster. I’m certain Stafford is one of few players who graded well.