Bob Quinn hit the ground running – literally – after being hired by the Lions on Jan. 8 last year. His first order of business was deciding to keep Jim Caldwell and his coaching staff on board, and then he went to work on reshaping his personnel department.
He hired Kyle O’Brien to be his director of player personnel on Jan. 15, just one week before East-West Shrine week, which is the first major scouting event on the offseason schedule.
Quinn’s chief of staff and assistant to the general manager, Kevin Anderson, was hired Jan. 28. He works closely with Quinn in executing the team’s wide-range of football operations initiatives.
Matt Harris, the team’s vice president of football operations wasn’t on board until Jan. 29.
Then there’s director of pro scouting, Brendan Prophett, who didn’t join Quinn’s staff until last May. Neither did Ron Mills (scout), Jay Muraco (area scout) or Scott Sika (scout).
Marc Olsen, an addition last year to the regional scouting team, was hired Feb. 19 right before the start of the Scouting Combine in Indianapolis.
“I think one thing that we’re really going to work on is focusing on the details,” Quinn said of his second offseason in Detroit. “I think we’re in a much better spot this year going into the pre-draft and the pre-free agency time of year. I’ve had my staff in place here for close to a year now, so we feel like we’re in a much better place in terms of the preparation.”
All these new hires, and the scouting staff retained from the previous regime, had to quickly absorb Quinn’s vision for building a roster. What kind of team did he want to build? What kind of players fit that ideology?
That also had to be in lockstep with the coaching staff, which Quinn was just getting to know.
All of that takes time.
“You know, I think that any time that you’re working with someone that you hadn’t worked with before that there’s always going to be a good sense of trying to get a feel for how things are done and those kinds of things," Caldwell said after the season.
"But once you’ve gone through it once, you have certainly a much, much better feel. You know, we’ve had a really good working relationship. It’s well-organized, they do things extremely well in the front office and our relationship has been very good in that regard, so I would anticipate that we’ll still be able to work well together and look forward to it.”
Free agency is always hit or miss, but Quinn had more hits than misses in his first go around with the Lions.
The success of a draft class can’t really be measured until years later, but all early indications are that Quinn acquired some really nice players, and the coaching staff did a nice job developing them. Detroit’s rookies played 3,237 snaps on a playoff team. The NFL average was 2,675 snaps.
All and all, it was a good offseason for Quinn and Co. on the fly a year ago.
The Lions need another good one this year if they’re going to get back to the playoffs and take that next step of winning in the postseason.
“Now, a lot of the heavy lifting is still to come," Quinn said heading into the offseason. "But I feel like we’re in a good spot in getting ready for the offseason."