Allen Park — Detroit Lions general manager Brad Holmes has never hidden his passion. Whether it was emphatically slamming the war room table after drafting the prospect he’d been targeting for months or repeatedly screaming at the top of his lungs in the elevator to the locker room after the franchise’s first playoff win in 32 years, Holmes wears his heart on his sleeves.
On Monday, Holmes held his season-ending press conference. They are the most extensive public comments he will make all year, and before answering a single question from the assembled media, he gave a keynote speech that lasted more than 11 minutes. It was clear that Holmes had something he wanted to say directly to the team’s fan base, a group he called the best in the world. The crux of that message: Trust us, we’re just getting started.
After falling just short of the Super Bowl with a loss to the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Championship Game, there has been intense debate about Detroit’s ability to maintain success. The conversation began almost immediately, when coach Dan Campbell revealed some of his postgame comments to the players: You never know if this will be his only chance. And Campbell expanded on that message the next day, when he noted that it would be twice as difficult to achieve the same level of success next season.
It’s not that Campbell doubts his or his team’s ability to stay at the top of the standings; Rather, he was reminding his players and coaching staff that nothing will be easy or guaranteed. But Holmes, in his comments Monday, was much more emphatic about the permanence of the team’s recent success.
“This is what I want to tell our fans: ‘Look, this is only going to get better,'” Holmes said. “Okay? We’re just going to get better. Okay? I don’t want anyone to think that this was some magical, Cinderella, one-time trip that just happened. No, it’s real. Okay? This is exactly what was supposed to happen.
“…I understand that when you have a season like this, it’s easy to feel like it was a unique, magical, lucky, cute story, which I’m tired of hearing,” Holmes continued. “It was nothing like that. It’s easy to think that, but no. Every move that Dan and I make has been made to support what we’ve built. Every move. And I’ll say every move we make and every move we make No To do is to sustain what we have been building. It is real.”
Since taking over as the team’s general manager in 2021, Holmes has quickly assembled a competitive roster, almost from scratch and primarily through the draft. From his first pick that first season (offensive tackle Penei Sewell) to his final pick in the 2023 draft, wide receiver Antoine Green, Holmes stressed that the thought process with each addition has been thorough and deliberate, even if the approach It hasn’t been. He has always been orthodox. He has been willing to challenge conventional thinking about positional value or perceived roster needs.
In 2021, he waited until the fourth round before finally drafting the wide receiver everyone felt they needed. He turned out to be Amon-Ra St. Brown, a two-time Pro Bowler and first-team All-Pro in 2023. And last year, he drafted a running back and a linebacker in the first round, earlier than those positions typically are. tackled, followed by a tight end that many analysts hadn’t rated as highly.
What Holmes got from those picks were two Pro Bowl selections and a record-breaking tight end in Sam LaPorta.
So as part of his message, Holmes wants everyone to understand that he will not hesitate to think outside the box again and again, because it is inside the box that he and Campbell have conceived to put a winner on the field.
“As long as Dan and I are convicted for drafting these players, you’re going to sleep like a baby, and we slept like a baby after drafting those players,” Holmes said. “And all the criticism that came and went the day after the draft, or the week after the draft, it’s always: You can’t be a prisoner of the moment. You can’t let it get to you. You just have to walk away.” through the post-draft storm and just weathering it.
“…I just want you to know that over the next few months, don’t let speculation or negative talk or entertainment news scare you away this spring,” Holmes said. “Don’t be scared by that, thinking that we can’t build and sustain what we’ve been building. Don’t be scared by that. I totally understand. In the next few months, there will be a lot of speculation. There’s a lot of opinion and people don’t know what’s going to happen.” pass”.