Rod Wood

Sunday Roundup: Wood, Burfict, Koetter

As the Vikings and Seahawks do battle in frigid Minneapolis, let’s take a look at some links from around the league:

  • New Lions president Rod Wood admits to not having any football experience, but no one was especially concerned about that, as Wood is expected to handle the business side of the club while new GM Bob Quinn will handle the football side. But as Kyle Meinke of MLive.com writes, Detroit’s press release announcing Quinn’s hire noted that Quinn would report to team ownership and to Wood, which suggests that Wood could be wielding more power than initially believed.
  • Unsurprisingly, Bengals LB Vontaze Burfict is facing a suspension for his hit on Antonio Brown last night, per ESPN’s Adam Schefter (via Twitter).
  • ESPN’s Ed Werder believes it is “unlikely” that the Bengals will part ways with head coach Marvin Lewis (Twitter link), and Mark Maske of the Washington Post lays out the reasons for his belief that Lewis should stay.
  • Bob McGinn of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel believes the Packers‘ efforts this season have been hampered by GM Ted Thompson‘s lack of in-season roster moves to address the team’s weaknesses. Since 2010, Green Bay has been awarded just two players on waivers, and Thompson has gone to the practice squad 70% of the time to fill vacancies on the 53-man roster.
  • Roy Cummings of the Tampa Tribune tweets that Dirk Koetter is still the leading candidate for the Buccaneers‘ head coaching job, though Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times tweets that Koetter “really impressed” the 49ers during his interview with San Francisco yesterday. Tampa Bay also interviewed Panthers DC Sean McDermott yesterday.
  • Gus Bradley is taking his time with the Jaguars‘ search for a new defensive coordinator and has yet to establish a deadline for the decision, according to Ryan O’Halloran of the Florida-Times Union.
  • Texans unrestricted free agents Ben Jones and Jared Crick both expressed their desire to remain in Houston, according to Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle (via Twitter).
  • Meanwhile, two notable players have declared that they will enter the NFL draft: Arkansas RB Alex Collins (Twitter link via ESPN’s Joe Schad) and Utah State LB Nick Vigil (Twitter link via Tony Pauline of DraftInsider.net).

Coaching/GM Notes: Pagano, Browns, Fins, Cowboys, Lions

The latest news on various teams’ coaching and front office situations as Black Monday approaches:

  • Colts owner Jim Irsay will meet with Chuck Pagano on Monday to discuss the head coach’s future, writes Mike Wells of ESPN.com. After helping lead the Colts to playoff berths in his first three years with the team, Pagano’s club missed out this season during an injury-riddled, tumultuous campaign, going 8-8. As a result, the Colts are expected to let go of Pagano, whose contract is up, according to CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora (Twitter link).
  • With Ray Farmer out as the Browns’ general manager, the franchise might turn its football operations over to executive vice president/general counsel Sashi Brown, Vic Carucci of The Buffalo News reports (Twitter link).
  • Adam Gase, Jim Mora Jr., Mike Shanahan, Teryl Austin, Mike Smith, Dirk Koetter and Doug Marrone are all currently connected to the Dolphins’ head coaching job, according to Adam Beasley of the Miami Herald (Twitter link).
  • Not surprisingly, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones confirmed Sunday that Jason Garrett will return in 2016 for his seventh season as the team’s head coach. “Let me be real clear: There’s no thought of replacing Jason. At all,” Jones said, according to Charean Williams of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram (Twitter link). Jones acknowledged that Garrett’s staff could change, though, as four assistant coaches’ contracts expire (Twitter link via Williams). Whether those changes happen will be up to Garrett, who Jones says is “the ultimate-decision maker” when it comes to the coaching staff (Twitter link via Fox Sports’ Matt Mosley).
  • Lions president Rod Wood says the club’s search for a new general manager will begin in earnest Monday, tweets Tim Twentyman of the team’s website. Interim GM Sheldon White will be among those interviewed, according to Wood (Twitter link via Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press), and Greg Gabriel of NFPost.com reports the Lions will also talk to Giants assistant GM Kevin Abrams (via Twitter). Another Giants executive, Marc Ross, could also get a look, tweets Fox Sports’ Mike Garafolo.

Lions President Talks GM, Caldwell, Roles

New Lions president Rod Wood spoke to reporters at a press conference today, reiterating that he doesn’t have a football background and indicating at one point, “I would probably say that I’m not qualified to run any other NFL team, but I think I’m qualified to run this one,” according to Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press (Twitter link). The assertion, which sounds alarming on the surface, makes some sense when taking into account Wood’s connection to the Ford family, and his understanding of ownership’s wishes and goals, tweets Birkett.

Still, for an executive whose hiring has been scrutinized and questioned based on his lack of football experience, Wood perhaps should have chosen his words a little more carefully. While that quote may get most of the attention, the new team president had plenty more to say, so let’s round up some highlights….

  • According to Wood, the new general manager will be in charge of the Lions’ salary cap, and there will be a clear line of demarcation in responsibilities in the front office (Twitter links via Birkett). It will be “incredibly rare” for Wood to have input on any football personnel decisions — it will likely only happen if a signing or acquisition requires a significant financial investment.
  • The Lions’ advisory board, which consists of Wood and various members of the Ford family, doesn’t have a ton of football experience, as the new president acknowledged today. Wood suggested the Lions will employ an advisor for their GM search to help identify the right candidate (Twitter link via Birkett).
  • According to Wood, the team will use “every resource available to us” in its search for a general manager, and interim GM Sheldon White will be a candidate (Twitter link via Michael Rothstein of ESPN.com). Identifying a candidate with “a history of successful roster building” will be a priority, tweets Birkett.
  • The new general manager will be the one to make the call on Jim Caldwell‘s future with the club, per Birkett (Twitter link). That doesn’t bode particularly well for Caldwell, since new GMs often prefer to bring in their own head coaches.
  • Wood admitted that he was involved in discussions on whether or not to fire former GM Martin Mayhew and president Tom Lewand (Twitter link via Birkett). While it would be unfair to accuse Wood of any ulterior motives, it seems to me like a conflict of interest for the team to solicit his opinion on whether to fire someone he ultimately replaced.
  • Selling the team isn’t an option for the Fords in the near future, according to Wood, who declined to comment on a succession plan for ownership (Twitter link via Birkett).

Lions Notes: Wood, GM Search, Ownership

Speaking today to WJR-AM in Detroit, new Lions president Rod Wood confirmed that he will “probably” not be involved with the team’s personnel decisions going forward. However, he’ll be involved in managing the salary cap and other financial decisions that affect the franchise, as Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press writes.

The football and personnel decisions figure to be handled by the new general manager, and Wood said today that the Lions are “just embarking upon the next steps of that [GM search].” According to Birkett, many league observers believe the club will likely hire a young GM who is one of the candidates formally identified by the NFL. We heard yesterday about a few executives Detroit may be considering.

Here’s more out of Detroit:

  • The top candidates for the Lions’ GM job will have questions that need to be answered about the ownership structure and succession plan for the franchise, Birkett notes (via Twitter). However, Wood’s presence doesn’t make the job any less appealing. Birkett suggests that Lions ownership ought to hire someone from the NFL’s GM advisory board as a consultant to help conduct the search and to sit in on interviews with candidates (Twitter link).
  • The hiring of Wood, just two weeks after owner Martha Ford promised to conduct “a national serach for the best leadership to manage our team going forward,” doesn’t sit right with Carlos Monarrez of the Detroit Free Press, who says Wood’s main qualification for the position is that he has earned the Fords’ trust.
  • As Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk outlines, the fact that Wood said he “probably” won’t be involved in personnel decisions, rather than dismissing the idea outright, may be a cause for concern. Florio also points out that if Sheila Ford Hamp were to be next in line to take over the franchise, Wood could end up acting as a surrogate owner for a while, since he’s a “close confidante” of Hamp.
  • Michael Rothstein of ESPN.com provides five things to know about the Lions’ new president.

Lions Hire Rod Wood As President

The Lions have officially hired Rod Wood as the team’s new president, the club announced today in a press release. Wood takes over the position that was previously held by Tom Lewand, until he was let go along with general manager Martin Mayhew earlier this month.

Wood, who was served as the president and CEO of Ford Estates, has “worked closely” with the Lions organization for the last eight years, according to the team release. He’ll oversee the business side of the franchise, and will report directly to owner Martha Firestone Ford.

“I am humbled and honored to accept this position,” Wood said in a statement. “Mrs. Ford has made it clear that her goal, and the goal of the Ford Family, is to make the Detroit Lions a championship football team and organization. In my role as team President, I will do everything possible to provide our organization with all the means necessary to succeed on the football field and provide our fans and city with a championship organization both on and off the field.”

With Wood taking over the role as president, the Lions will now move forward in their search for a general manager, with Ford stating that the club now has “the ability to move more decisively” in that search. She also announced an advisory board for the GM search, which includes herself, Wood, and the team’s board of directors and vice chairmen, all of whom are members of the Ford family.

The Lions remain unlikely to formally name a new GM until after the regular season, but the team figures to identify potential candidates and perhaps put out feelers in the next few weeks. For now, Sheldon White remains the interim general manager in Detroit.