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Detroit Lions are restructuring their front office, starting at the top

Lions Wire logo Lions Wire 1/19/2021 Erik Schlitt
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The Detroit Lions are not only hiring a new general manager (Brad Holmes) and head coach (presumably Dan Campbell), but they’re restructuring their front office, and it’s starting at the top.

Under previous general manager Bob Quinn’s tenure with the Lions, he was not only the GM but also the team’s Director of Football Operations. After Quinn was fired, our Jeff Risdon wrote about how those two positions should be separate and the Lions would be best-served separating the roles between two individuals.

“Handling both jobs was too big for Quinn,” Risdon said. “It’s a mistake the Lions can’t make once again. They need to hire a separate director of football operations from the new GM.”

Well, Risdon is getting his wish.

On Monday, Sports Illustrated’s MMQB author Albert Breer wrote about why the Lions hiring of Holmes was “right along the lines of what they were looking for” and expanded on how the organization’s front office is changing to help him be successful.

The Lions were looking for a GM with a scouting background and Holmes’ 16 years of experience in this area — the last eight as the Rams director of college scouting — fit the bill to a tee.

“Detroit liked hearing from Holmes about how the Rams do things differently,” Breer wrote, “mixing analytics and an intellectual way of looking at players with traditional scouting, while seeing that he’d change some things too.”

One of the changes the Lions wanted to put in place was to allow Holmes to stay focused on what he is good at — scouting.

“In order to get the GM job (Holmes) closer to a true scouting job, the Lions are putting VP Mike Disner in charge of much of the football-operations end of things, which means Holmes won’t have to worry about managing areas like travel, nutrition, training and equipment.”

Disner, a Bloomfield Hills native, has 12 years of NFL front office experience and is considered one of the “rising stars” who is “shaping the direction of the NFL”. He was hired by the Lions in 2018, after six years as the Cardinals capologist, and was tasked with heading up the player contract negotiations and handling the Lions salary cap. He was also a member of the Lions search team that helped identify Holmes and Campbell.

Per Breer’s report, “Disner, Holmes and the new coach (presumably, Saints assistant Dan Campbell) will all report to Lions president Rod Wood”. Keep in mind, this is also an area where Chris Spielman, who was hired as a “Special Assistant to Chairman and President & CEO”, can best make an impact on the organization — giving Wood a sounding board and advising him on the football side of the organization.

At his end of season press conference, Wood said: “What we’re looking for is people that can work together and be partners, and not one working for the other necessarily”.

Based on the way this new organizational structure is progressing, they’re doing exactly that.

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