The Detroit Lions introduced former Los Angeles Rams director of college scouting Brad Holmes as their new general manager with a Zoom press conference with the media Tuesday.
Lions owner Sheila Ford Hamp and team president Rod Wood, along with Chris Spielman and Mike Disner, interviewed 12 candidates for the job, and both Hamp and Wood said Holmes wowed during his interview with his philosophy on team and roster building and the use of technology and analytics in that process.
Wood said that during the interview process he'd take notes and write down first impressions of the candidates. When it came to Holmes, Wood said he wrote down, "this is the guy."
Here are the key questions from Holmes' introductory press conference:
What is his approach to building up Detroit's roster?
Holmes said that will start with a collaborative approach.
"We will build a winning and inspired culture," he said.
He stressed the word 'serve' when talking about building a winner for the City of Detroit.
"There will be no ego in this process," Holmes said. "There will be no ego in the culture. Everything is about the team – bottom line. We will be extremely collaborative, very intentional and thorough and diligent in our process to truly earn it, and we'll be inspired in our process. We'll be aggressively smart and we will embrace rapid evolution."
Holmes said that process will get going as soon as the team announces a new head coach.
What is Holmes' evaluation of quarterback Matthew Stafford?
"Great player," Holmes said of Stafford. "What you really appreciate is, I think the talent level is easy to see, but you really appreciate how his intangibles show on film, just how urgent he plays, how competitive he is, the toughness he shows."
It's Holmes' job to evaluate the entire roster, and through that process he hasn't yet had any discussions with Stafford – or any other players – and Holmes said he wanted to be fair to the process before commenting further on Stafford's future. Stafford still has two years remaining on his contract.
How important are those intangibles Holmes talked about with Stafford in player acquisition at both the college and pro level?
They are extremely important to Holmes.
"I think the intangibles are the separator of success at this level," he said.
Holmes said the Rams always made an emphasis on investing in high intangible football players. Most important to them were players who had passion for the game. Holmes said there's no margin for error for him when it comes to players having that quality. Passion for football is extremely important to Holmes in the evaluation process.
Is Holmes looking at 2021 as a retool or a rebuild?
Holmes doesn't view this as a long-term rebuild.
"That's not the approach. That's not the mindset going into it," he said. 'The approach is to make sure we can put the most competitive team possible out there in 2021."
Holmes said he's very well versed in this year's draft, and expects to hit the ground running on all the foundational work he did in Los Angeles leading up to taking the Lions GM job.
How does Holmes plan to address the defense?
Detroit's defense set franchise records for total yards allowed and points allowed in 2020.
Holmes thinks there's some talented young pieces on that side of the ball, and some veterans that have brought some good production, but he did say a retool on defense was necessary.
What does Holmes want in a head coach?
Holmes was very clear that the general manager and head coach need to be in lockstep and have the same vision for an organization to be successful. Holmes went as far as to say the GM and the head coach almost have to be like family.
"My No. 1 core trait was, first of all, he's got to be a leader of men," Holmes said of what he's looking for in Detroit's next head coach. "He has to have presence. Within that presence he has to have poise, he has to have confidence, he has to have command and he has to have mental toughness. He has to have intelligence. A strong passion to develop."
Holmes said he plans to build through the draft, and needs a head coach that can develop those young players and have a strong passion to do so.