The Detroit Lions enter the final week of the 2022 regular season with an opportunity to make the playoffs for the first time in six seasons. It’s an outside chance—seeing as they have to beat the red-hot Packers on the road as 4.5-point underdogs, and they also need the 6.5-point underdog Los Angeles Rams to beat or tie the Seattle Seahawks on the road. However, even being in this position after a 3-13-1 season—and a 1-6 start to this season—feels like a pretty substantial accomplishment.
Understandably so, coach Dan Campbell has gotten a lot of praise for this turnaround. It not only takes a strong, collected leader to wade through difficult times, but the development of Campbell’s players is hard to deny.
But a big part of that battle is getting the right people in the building in the first place. Not only is it important to bring in talent capable of winning football games, but you have to find the right people who have the character and heart to fight through adversity. And so general manager Brad Holmes is starting to get some love, too.
The Lions may only have one Pro Bowler this year—congrats again to Frank Ragnow—but Detroit also had nine alternates, and Holmes had a hand in bringing in six of them: Amon-Ra St. Brown, Penei Sewell, Jared Goff, Jamaal Williams, Kalif Raymond, and Aidan Hutchinson. All of those players have been instrumental in Detroit’s sudden turnaround, and they are far from the only ones.
After hitting on Day 3 pick Amon-Ra St. Brown last year, Holmes now has two defensive contributors that he found on the final day of the 2022 NFL Draft. Sixth-round linebacker Malcolm Rodriguez continues to offer solid play as a starter, and sixth-round edge defender James Houston has burst onto the scene with eight sacks in six games. Even second-round pick Josh Paschal is starting to emerge again after tallying his first two NFL sacks last week against the Chicago Bears.
Of course, not everything has been perfect. The jury is still out on Holmes’ aggressive move to get Jameson Williams, as Detroit is clearly planning to unleash him next year. Last year’s Day 2 picks of Levi Onwuzurike and Ifeatu Melifonwu have not contributed much in their first two seasons.
Free agency continues to be hit or miss for Holmes. Jamaal Williams was clearly a great signing both on and off the field. Kalif Raymond is an extremely underrated contributor. But Detroit also didn’t do much to upgrade their secondary for two years in a row now, and it’s still showing.
Personally speaking, that feels a little nitpicky, though. The truth of the matter is that the Lions are a .500 team, they’re on the verge of making an improbable playoff run, and they’re doing so with one of the youngest rosters in the league. That means Holmes is not only doing a good job right now, but he’s setting the franchise up for future success.
But I’m not the one voting here. That’s up you y’all. And before we get into this month’s poll, here’s a look at Holmes’ approval ratings throughout his two years on the job.
March 2021 (pre-free agency): 97 percent approval
May 2021 (post-draft): 98 percent
September 2021 (post-cuts): 90 percent
October 2021: 87 percent
November 2021: 79 percent
December 2021: 97 percent
January 2022: 97 percent
March 2022 (pre-free agency): 96 percent
May 2022 (post-draft): 99 percent
September 2022: 95 percent
October 2022: 82 percent
November 2022: 97 percent
Alright, now it’s time to vote:
Do you approve of the job Brad Holmes is doing as Lions GM?
This poll is closed