What Lions GM Brad Holmes said in end-of-season press conference

Lions finish 2021 season with 3 wins

Detroit Lions NFL football team general manager Brad Holmes addresses the media at the Lions training facility, Tuesday, Jan. 11, 2022, in Allen Park, Mich. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio) (Carlos Osorio, Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

DETROITDetroit Lions general manager Brad Holmes held his end-of-the-year press conference this week after the Lions wrapped up the season with a win last weekend.

Holmes, who just finished his first season at the helm, talked about various topics and offered plenty of hints about where the team is going next season and beyond. Here are some of the takeaways from the briefing.

Holmes complimentary on QB Jared Goff

Lions quarterback Jared Goff had a rough start to his Lions tenure, but his second half was much-improved. In his final six starts, Goff was 3-2-1 and threw only two interceptions.

“I can’t say enough about his resiliency,” Holmes said about Goff. “The mental toughness and the physical toughness and his resiliency. You talk about will, talk about grit, that’s why he fit from the very get go.

He had some adversity that he had to fight through. And I give him all the credit in the world that he stayed the course. And some tweaks were made, some changes were made, some reinforcements and players emerged. But he played really good football.

And it wasn’t a surprise that he played good football, I guess because of my history with him. I’ve seen him play some of his best football. So that wasn’t a surprise. But I was more proud [that] he showed that resiliency and mental toughness to push through. And he played good football the last half of the season.”

Performance aside, it’s hard to see the Lions moving on from Goff next season. He’s signed through next season with a $31 million cap hit, and then there’s a potential opt-out in 2023. So we’ll see what happens.

Related: Detroit Lions 2021 season review: 5 reasons to think the future is bright

Winning 3 games ‘never going to be good enough’

Holmes said he was happy with how the season ended, with the Lions winning three of their last six games, but he knows it’s not good enough moving forward.

“I love how the season ended, but the reality is we won three games and that’s not good enough and it never will be,” Holmes said.

“It’s hard to practice the patience, at times, to stick with the plan, but it’s a multi-year plan, it’s for sustained success, and I believe we did lay the foundation,” Holmes added.

Holmes also said he and head coach Dan Campbell were happy with the playing time and development they were able to get out of several young players.

“We’re going to let these guys play. A lot of it was by circumstance. A lot of it, we didn’t have a choice at certain times,” Holmes said. “But I will say, when we got hit with adversity, whether it was injuries or other stuff, I have a, let’s call it an ‘available free agent board’ with veterans that would be available to come in and help, and we stuck with our plan. We let these young guys play and get valuable experience.”

Holmes pointed out that six of the draft picks from his 2021 class became starters, along with free agent finds like Jerry Jacobs and A.J. Parker, who played well for the Lions defense. He praised rookies Penei Sewell and Amon-Ra St. Brown, who had outstanding rookie campaigns.

“He’s a culture fit for what we’re all about,” Holmes said about St. Brown. “I think everything just kind of clicked for him kind of late. But, we always knew he had the intangibles and work ethic and he’s just a pros pro in the way that he’s wired. That equated to a lot of his success on top of his physical ability.”

Working with Dan Campbell ‘a joy’

The working relationship between Holmes and Campbell appears to be going well.

“There’s so many great things I can say about Dan, but I’ll sum it up. He’s got an it factor that you either have it or you don’t, and he has that,” Holmes said. “He’s been a joy to work with.”

Holmes said they face adversity in the same way and it helped them push through tough days after losses.

“It can be a tough loss on Sunday. I’m driving into work (Monday) saying, ‘I can’t wait to get started for this week.’ Then I see Dan and Dan’s like, ‘we’re about to score 30 points this week.’ That’s just how we are,” Holmes said.

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Priorities for the offseason

The Lions will have the second pick in the NFL draft in the spring, and they’ll have three picks in the top 34, which means it’ll be a big opportunity to add talent.

The Lions will be one of the teams coaching in the Senior Bowl a few weeks from now. Holmes said there’s still plenty of work to do for draft planning.

“I think each draft is different. It truly is,” Holmes said. “There are some drafts that are really, really top-heavy, some drafts are not. Some drafts are better or more heavy on day two. There are some that are more heavy on the backend.

“But I think all of that is being sorted out. Our personnel department’s doing a heck of a job. I think they’ve pretty much seen everybody. We have a pretty good bite at it. But obviously, what we’re about to embark on is going to provide a lot of clarity for those guys.”

Holmes said he’d like to improve at perimeter positions on both sides of the ball. The top two draft prospects are defensive ends. He also noted a need to add depth at wide receiver and safety.

About the Author:

Ken Haddad is the digital special projects manager for WDIV / ClickOnDetroit.com. He also authors the Morning Report Newsletter and various other newsletters. He's been with WDIV since 2013.