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O'HARA: What we learned from Lions' offseason hires

General manager Brad Holmes and head coach Dan Campbell have backed up their words with their actions in their first five weeks with the Detroit Lions.

The bottom line: We've learned that they meant what they said when they interviewed for their respective jobs.

Lions Legend Chris Spielman, a Pro Bowl and All-Pro linebacker in eight seasons with the Lions (1988-95) and now special assistant to principal owner Sheila Ford Hamp and team President Rod Wood, offered a look into how Holmes and Campbell are building the team in a radio interview last week.

"I don't have any guarantees," Spielman said. "I just think you give yourself the best opportunity to win and to build, and to do it right."

Words on their own don't win games, but it's hard to find anything to criticize in what the Lions' new leadership tandem has done. That's especially true for Campbell, who has loaded his staff of assistants with men who have played and coached in the NFL.

Holmes also has made key additions at the top of his staff with men who have playing and front-office experience in the NFL.

Spielman spoke at length about both Campbell and Holmes in his radio interview.

We start with Campbell.

"Dan Campbell said in the interview process, 'I will get coaches to come coach with me,'" said Spielman, who participated in the interviews.

"Not only does he bring in a former head coach as his offensive coordinator (Anthony Lynn), he brought in two guys who interviewed for head coaching jobs (Aaron Glenn and Duce Staley), who some people viewed as future head coaches."

Spielman's point: Campbell was not afraid to hire assistants who might be considered threats to his job security.

Campbell played 10 seasons in the NFL as a blocking tight end.

His staff is heavy with men with NFL experience. Among them: Quarterbacks coach Mark Brunell (17 seasons), defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn (15), running backs coach and assistant head coach Duce Staley (10), offensive line coach Hank Fraley (10), wide receivers coach Antwaan Randle El (9 ) and offensive coordinator Anthony Lynn (6).

Lynn was head coach of the Chargers the last four years.

Just as important, the ex-players have NFL coaching experience. Among them: Lynn (21 seasons), Staley (10), Glenn (6), Fraley (6) and Randle El (2).

Brunell, whose 17 seasons are the most among Lions assistants, is in his first season as an NFL assistant.

At the opposite end of the spectrum, senior defensive assistant Dom Capers never played in the NFL but has spent 34 seasons as an NFL coach -- eight as a head coach, 26 as an assistant.

Brad Holmes: His first two major hires -- assistant GM Ray Agnew and senior personnel executive John Dorsey -- have NFL experience as players and in the front office.

Holmes stresses collaboration, and it was more than a catch phrase in his job interview.

"If Brad Holmes said, 'I want everybody's opinion, I want collaboration' ... and then I actually witness it in his actions, -- that's a good sign for fans," said Spielman.

The real test for Holmes will come in how the Lions fare in free agency and the draft. But the foundation is solid.

Holmes-Campbell, bottom line: "Dan and Brad have done exactly what they said they would in the interview process," Spielman said. "Anybody can say anything in the interview process. Until you see it with your own eyes -- which I have -- now I feel we're giving ourselves the best chance to win as soon as possible."

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