The Detroit Lions announced Monday the hiring of two coaches, the movement of two others and the choice to not to retain special teams coordinator Danny Crossman.
The team hired former Bills offensive coordinator/running backs coach Curtis Modkins to serve as the team’s new running backs coach/run game coordinator. I’ve never heard the title of “run game coordinator” before, but if Modkins can bring Lions fans the same results the Bills have seen from their run game over the last three years, it doesn’t matter what title he’s given – he’ll be loved.
Modkins has done a terrific job developing C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson in Buffalo over the last three seasons. The Lions are trying to develop a thunder and lightning combo to their backfield next season and it helps to have someone setting it up who’s be successful orchestrating a two-back system like that.
Johnson is known among NFL circles as an up-and-comer in the coaching ranks. He’ll be tasked with getting more out of tight ends Brandon Pettigrew and Tony Scheffler. Pettigrew has been a solid tight end over the last four seasons, but Lions fans are still waiting for him to take the next step. Hopefully Johnson can help.
Tim Lappano moves over from the tight ends to coach the receivers. Lappano is a fiery personality on the practice field, and it’ll be interesting to see how he and mild-mannered receivers Calvin Johnson and Ryan Broyles interact. The receivers room has good leadership with Nate Burleson and Calvin Johnson, and Lappano will have to win over a unit that seemed to really like former receivers coach Shawn Jefferson.
The Lions are giving Jeremiah Washburn his first shot to be an NFL position coach by naming him the new offensive line coach. It’s a good move by the Lions to promote a coach from within who has paid his dues for four years. Washburn is smart, but very soft spoken. I can’t actually say that I’ve ever heard him yell in my time covering the Lions.
Washburn might be the most important of all the assistant hires. The Lions could see some major changes along the offensive line next season and it’ll be up to Washburn to help organize those changes and keep the franchise (quarterback Matthew Stafford) safe.
Tough task for a first-time position coach.
It’s unclear if the decision to not retain special teams coordinator Danny Crossman was a mutual decision or a Detroit Lions decision. Either way, that’s the last assistant/coordinator job still open on the staff.
Crossman took a lot of criticism for what happened in Weeks 3 and 4, but it wasn’t all his fault. It was probably time for a change, though.
There are some veteran candidates out there (Alan Lowry) and the Lions need to get more from their return game.
With an offense like theirs, the ability to play with a shorter field – or to flip field position completely – can be a real weapon. It was probably due time for a few fresh perspective on special teams.
Posted in Lions Insider Tim Twentyman | 18 Comments »