Lions' Dan Campbell defends team's shared decision-making structure
Before the Detroit Lions even began a search for their next coach and general manager, owner Sheila Ford Hamp said the team was open to a non-traditional power structure at the top of the organization.
Now that the pieces are in place, with Brad Holmes as general manager and Dan Campbell as coach, the team's power structure still lacks formal definition, and that's by design.
After preaching the importance of collaboration between the front office, coaching staff and ownership, it doesn't appear as if the Lions will have a single authority when it comes to making roster decisions. Each move will be decided collaboratively by Holmes and Campbell, with input throughout the organization, from assistant general manager Ray Agnew to senior personnel executive John Dorsey to the assistant coaches, as well ownership, which includes adviser Chris Spielman.
"Here's what I'd say about a true alpha," Campbell said when asked who has final authority. "A true alpha knows when it's time to concede for the betterment of the team. I would tell you one way or another, there's already been a couple of things where it's like maybe you see a little more this way, I see it a little more this way. We haven’t had one problem and we’re not going to have a problem because if we feel like it’s the betterment for the team, and ultimately, Brad feels one way, what does the pack feel like? How does everybody feel? How do all the coaches feel? How does Ray Agnew feel? And if I’m the odd man out, I’ve got zero problem."
"It won't be a problem," Campbell said. "I know it won't. We will come to the best agreement. I'm not going to wallow in my own pride and worry about, 'Ugh, I really wanted this guy and I can't believe that he didn't see it my way.' One of the reasons that I feel like I'm here is because, man, believe it or not I'm a good listener too. I can hear all sides. There's been things that people have been able to change my mind because I'm able to look at it and I'm able to see it and I can digest it. It may take a day, but you come back and you know what? I see what you see. I get it. I see where you're going with it."
With Ford Hamp, more than a few eyebrows were raised when Spielman noted in a recent radio interview that she had been sitting in, virtually, on the team's free-agency planning meetings.
Campbell said Ford Hamp has emphasized teamwork throughout the organization and has requested she be kept in the loop on all decisions and processes. As for her sitting in on the meetings, the coach wouldn't have it any other way.
"Actually, it's strongly encouraged," Campbell said. "She has been outstanding, all right? And, yes, she's been in personnel meetings. She's not in there, but she's been in the room. She's on the Zoom. We've asked her input, because I mean, she's the owner. I want her input. I'd love to know what she says.
"...She's been nothing but outstanding," Campbell said. "I want all of our coaches. I want our personnel department. I want our players to know, man, she cares. She wants to be around. She wants to be part of this."