Detroit Lions general manager Brad Holmes held his end of the season press conference on Tuesday, speaking on a wide range of issues as the team starts the offseason.
The Lions finished the regular season on Sunday, rallying from a 1-6 record to a 9-8 record, the first winning record for the team in five years. Holmes will be entering his third season as GM next year.
Here are some of the biggest takeaways from the Brad Holmes year-end presser:
Holmes happy with the effort
Brad Holmes started his press conference thanking ownership for supporting their vision, and thanking the players for all of the effort and dedication. Holmes said head coach Dan Campbell and the rest of the staff did “an unbelievable job.”
Holmes gave a shout out to the front office, player personnel and analytics departments, as well as the trainers, and player staff. “It’s all hands on deck.”
Holmes also thanked the fans. “Our atmosphere every week was electric,” he said. “One Pride, you better buckle up for One Pride.”
Holmes said he was happy to end the season on a positive note, especially on primetime national television.
‘Just getting started’
Holmes said the 9-8 finish to the season was good, and a “step in the right direction,” but said there’s a lot of work to do, and that he believes they’re “just getting started.”
“The standard is set,” Holmes added. “Last year, a foundation was laid, a culture was put in place. This year, a standard was set now. That standard, it’s not going to be compromised. It’s not going to be compromised no matter what.”
“I remember at 1-6, everybody was ready to write us off,” Holmes said. “We made a commitment to build this thing the right way, and sometimes the right way is the hard way, but we stayed with it.”
Is Jared Goff sticking around? Seems like it
Holmes was highly complementary of Lions quarterback Jared Goff. “I respect the hell out of him.”
“I didn’t have any doubt, or waiver, and I never deemed him as a bridge,” Holmes said, referring to the idea that Goff was a stopgap solution to the quarterback job in Detroit after the Matthew Stafford trade.
“It’s a lot easier to get worse at quarterback than to get better at quarterback,” Holmes said. “I think Jared has proven that he is the starting quarterback for us.”
Holmes did say that he’s not totally against drafting a quarterback if they like the player enough.
How about that 2022 draft class?
Holmes said he wasn’t surprised by the performance of many in his rookie draft class last season.
Holmes said they knew they all had the potential to do what they did. “We’re not surprised that they ended up having success, that’s why we do all the work that we do.”
All players in the 2022 draft class either started or contributed:
- DL Aidan Hutchinson – Michigan
- WR Jameson Williams – Alabama
- S Kerby Joseph – Illinois
- TE James Mitchell – Virginia Tech
- LB Malcolm Rodriguez – Oklahoma State
- LB James Houston – Jackson State
- CB Chase Lucas – Arizona State
On Jameson Williams, who only played a few games due to injury, Holmes said he thinks next year will be big for him. “I think he’s gonna be just fine.”
Holmes on Dan Campbell
“He’s special, he’s elite,” Holmes said of head coach Dan Campbell. “He has an elite ability to pull the team out of a dark place.”
“He’s going to do what it takes for the team. He has a rare elite ability to pull a team out and right the ship. You either have it or you don’t, and he has that.”
Free agency moves?
Holmes said they’re interested in bringing back most of their unrestricted free agents, and conversations are already underway.
The Lions have a lot of cap space to work with, but will they use it?
“It’s got to be the right guy,” Holmes said, adding they don’t plan on spending just to spend. “If it’s the right guy for our culture, what we’re building here.”
Holmes said that even if they bring in a veteran or high price player, the young players will still get plenty of playing time.
Playoffs next year?
Holmes said he feels like the Lions could have been in the playoffs and competed this year. He said next year, the obvious step is to make the playoffs.
“When you get into that dance, anything can happen.”
Holmes said he would expect more improvement next season.
Holmes said finishing ranked last in defense will be an obvious area of focus for the offseason.