I’m tired of questioning Detroit Lions General Manager Brad Holmes about the decisions he makes to turn the Lions into championship contenders.
Most of his decisions turn to gold. There is obviously a game plan that he and Coach Dan Campbell have in place. And they won’t deviate from it even though rivals, the Chicago Bears, San Francisco 49ers, Philadelphia Eagles and Seattle Seahawks traded for pieces Lions fans and supporters wanted.
“Good for them,” Campbell said.
Fans wanted the Lions to make a splash. However, there are downsides to two of the big splashes that were traded. Chase Young is a fabulous player but cannot stay healthy. The Washington Commanders declined his fifth-year rookie contract option and shipped him off instead.
Despite having Young and Sweat in the lineup the Commanders ranked 31st in scoring defense and 29th in yards per game given up – both franchise worst.
We rattled Holmes about his draft a few months ago.
Now we brag about how productive this rookie class is.
Many criticized Holmes for not drafting defensive tackle Jalen Carter who is a monster inside. However, running back Jahmyr Gibbs and tight end Sam LaPorta have played significant roles in the Lions 6-2 start and second-best record in the NFC.
Campbell told us that he talked to one of Carter’s University of Georgia teammates and hinted that he gleamed some intel from that. He never told us what the teammate said, but he didn’t like what he heard. Therefore Carter did not become a Lion.
The Lions draft and sign guys based on talent, fit, culture and grit. So far it seems to be working. They will win the NFC North Division and be a dangerous team in the playoffs that nobody wants to face. This is year two of turning the Lions into contenders and it is my understanding that
Holmes and Campbell want year three to place the finishing pieces of this team.
“Brad and I said from Day 1 we have a plan in place that we don’t want to alter,” Campbell said. “And we don’t want to mess with that. And we’re in year 3 of that right now, the beginning of year 3…everything had to be right. I just go back to it. It had to be the right fit. It had to be the right price. All of that. All three of those. And that’s not an easy thing to do.”
This is not fantasy football. The Lions are not to be rushed. They are not to be bullied and they are not to be pushed into altering the game plan.
It seems to be working so far. That is why I do not question Holmes on his newest venture.
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Original Photo Credit: © Tommy Gilligan – USA TODAY Sports