'A true alpha knows when it's time to concede:' Understanding the Lions decision process

New Lions head coach Dan Campbell has embraced the collaborative approach with GM Brad Holmes that owner Sheila Ford Hamp had envisioned. Detroit Lions via AP

ALLEN PARK, Mich. -- They’ve said it for more than a month now, even though it’s tough to completely understand and difficult to square away when it comes to the decision-making mechanisms of the Detroit Lions.

Both new general manager Brad Holmes and head coach Dan Campbell have steadfastly said when it comes to how the two of them will make decisions for the franchise, it’ll be done collaboratively. But even still, humans are humans and differences of opinion are good to avoid groupthink.

So what happens then, Campbell was asked.

“Brad and I do,” Campbell said.

Right. But again, the two of them won’t agree on every player and every decision. So what then? This is when Campbell got philosophical.

“Here’s what I would say about a true alpha. A true alpha knows when it’s time to concede for the betterment of the team. And so, I would tell you one way or another, there’s already been a couple things where it’s like, ‘Maybe we don’t. You see it a little more this way; I see it a little 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, 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 being like, I’m just telling ya, it won’t be a problem.”

That’s all well and good to say now, before the Lions have won or lost a game, signed a major free agent or drafted a player with their new regime. And it might work, as both Holmes and Campbell seem like they genuinely enjoy working with each other.

They both seem to have enough understanding to not be angry or annoyed if a decision doesn’t go their way. Looking at the roster, Holmes said, they’ve largely seen things the same way, had the same vision.

That was what owner Sheila Ford Hamp envisioned for her football hierarchy and had in mind when she hired them -- have a shared culture and an understood vision. Holmes said working with Campbell thus far has been “like a dream” with how they’ve agreed on various things.

And Hamp's been around, too, something Campbell wanted to address unprompted Tuesday. Even though she’s been in the room for meetings, she isn’t the one making the decisions.

“We’ve asked her input because, I mean, she’s the owner. I want her input,” Campbell said. “I’d love to know what she says, but every time [from Sheila] it’s like, ‘Listen, I’m not making this decision. I want you guys, what you feel is best. That’s why I hired you guys, for what is best for the Lions organization.’

“So she’s been nothing but outstanding.”

Like everyone else the Lions have hired in the front office and coaching staff, she’s been a resource for Campbell and Holmes and everyone else they’ve hired over the last two months.

There's a different way of handling things in Detroit, certainly different than prior regimes where even if they talked about working together, there was an obvious demarcation line of who was making the decisions.

That, in time, might shake out. But for now, the Lions are going the collaborative, everybody-has-a-say way. And it’s going to be something to see how it all works out.