5 Biggest Questions Brad Holmes Must Answer for Lions

Matthew Stafford

Getty Matthew Stafford scrambles in Detroit's final game of the 2020 season.

The Detroit Lions revealed their general manager hire this past week, tapping Brad Holmes to take over and lead the franchise through the next round of their long-anticipated reset.

Holmes has a tough job to do for the Lions on day one, however. He’s going to be fighting battles on multiple fronts and have plenty of tough questions to be answered in the months ahead as it relates to getting the roster and the franchise back on the right track. He’ll also have some major decisions to make which will play a hand in all of these outcomes in the near future.

What are the biggest questions that must be answered? Here’s a look at what’s facing the new boss when he starts his job on day one.

Does a Matthew Stafford Trade Happen?

Conviction will go a long way on this one given the complicated place Stafford occupies with the team and fan base at this point in time. The Lions could truthfully go either way with Stafford, so it’s best for Holmes to be honest and forthright about his plan. If he wants to stick with Stafford, he should rip the band-aid off and admit it, then go to work building a roster that can help the quarterback win. If he isn’t sure Stafford is his guy, Holmes should be honest in his evaluation, then move with conviction for an outcome there as well. The Stafford question will hang over the organization nearly every day until it is answered, so it’s up to Holmes to have the best possible plan and act on it once he gets in the building.

What Is the Right Move at Wide Receiver?

Detroit’s wideout room could be amongst the most gutted in the entire NFL next season considering the number of moving parts, but Holmes can help stop the bleeding in a few ways. He should consider keeping Marvin Jones, while also potentially using the franchise tag on Kenny Golladay. Intriguing free agent options exist as well. The 2021 NFL Draft is stocked with wideout talent, and some of the biggest names have already been mocked to Detroit early in the process. How Holmes goes about dealing with one of the most important spots on the offense will be important and telling, which is true no matter what happens with Matthew Stafford this offseason.

Can Brad Holmes Mesh With the Lions’ Next Head Coach?

The Lions didn’t reset their search to include defensive coordinator Brandon Staley of the Rams, who ended up taking the Chargers job. This means the likelihood is that Holmes will be walking into a situation where he hasn’t worked with his his new coach nor does he know much about him. Dan Campbell is expected to be that coach. From day one, the lines of communication will have to be open between the parties. Holmes has been lauded as a great communicator with emotional intelligence during the process, and this will be put to the test if the Lions make a hire he might not be familiar with. The Detroit hiring process has been described as a potential arranged marriage for their general manager, and those don’t always work out. A veteran head coach with experience could be a good move for the team, but regardless of who the boss is, Holmes will have to embrace him with open arms on the first day and work to create a positive working environment where there is seamless communication and respect.

Is There Any Quick Fix for Detroit’s Defense?

With his picks in Los Angeles, Holmes has helped in building one of the best defenses in the league. Detroit needs a similar infusion of talent in a hurry in order to turn things around and clean up a unit that was amongst the worst in the entire NFL last season. No matter what happens on offense, Detroit’s bigger problems seem to be on the defensive side, and that’s where Holmes has to do his heaviest lifting this offseason, both within the draft and free agency. A defensive-minded boss such as Brandon Staley or Todd Bowles could go a long way toward helping this out, but whomever coaches the team, it’s on Holmes to find the right fits for the roster. If the Lions roll out a similar defense as last year, it will be another ugly season in Detroit.

Will Brad Holmes Grow Into a Complete General Manager?

There’s no doubting Holmes has the scouting acumen to succeed in the role in terms of finding players, but can he manage everything else that comes with being a general manager? So often, unproven or unexperienced candidates struggle thanks to those factors, so Holmes will have to mitigate them as best he can and focus on how he can be successful one step at a time for the Lions. It’s possible Holmes will be the next big thing in the league, but the burden of proof is now on his side in terms of how he’s going to make that happen. Surrounding himself with good folks in the front office and delegating responsibility effectively will go a long way toward making that happen.

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