Linehan thinks Stafford could be one of the best ever

Posted by ttwentyman on December 14, 2012 – 12:20 pm

Lions offensive coordinator Scott Linehan spoke to the media Thursday and reiterated his belief that Matthew Stafford can be one of the best quarterback’s to ever play the game.

His comments are getting a lot of play in national media outlets.

“I don’t know where Peyton (Manning) was after four years exactly, but I think that Matt’s definitely on track to be one of the best quarterbacks ever to play this position,” Linehan said.

“He’s in an age of great quarterbacks. He’s not going to be mentioned in that category yet until we put together two or three seasons, like we did last year, in a row.

“Finish this season out strong, you look at the end of the year, see his numbers after two years, I mean it’s hard to say that there’s a lot of quarterbacks that have done that.”

Stafford, 24, is the reigning Comeback Player of the Year and needs to average 331.3 yards per game over the final three weeks to join Drew Brees as the only quarterbacks in NFL history to hit 5,000 yards in a season twice. He’s close to 12,000 career yards and has 77 touchdowns in 42 career starts.

Here is the full video of Linehan’s comments to the press regarding Stafford:

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All assistant coaches are signed for Lions

Posted by ttwentyman on January 27, 2012 – 4:45 pm

The Lions have confirmed the signing of all of their assistant coaches for the 2012 season.

Defensive backs coach Tim Walton and receivers coach Shawn Jefferson were the last to sign on the dotted line.

Walton interviewed with the Rams for their assistant defensive coordinator position last week, but ultimately decided to rejoin the Lions.

The Lions announced the signing of coordinators Gunther Cunningham (defense), Scott Linehan (offense) and Danny Crossman (special teams) earlier this month.

“I think we have a good group of coaches mixed with experience and younger guys, some former players, some guys that never played, but I like that dynamic and I like the consistency,” Lions head coach Jim Schwartz said after the season. “We were consistent from a preparation standpoint, from a game plan standpoint, from week-to-week.”

The Lions coaching staff has remained one of the most consistent since Schwartz took over in 2009.

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Posted in Lions Insider Tim Twentyman | 9 Comments »

Report: Lions defensive backs coach Tim Walton interviews with Rams

Posted by ttwentyman on January 22, 2012 – 7:21 pm

Lions defensive backs coach Tim Walton, whose contract expired after the season, interviewed with the St. Louis Rams on Saturday, according to a report in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Walton is a candidate to be the Rams’ assistant defensive coordinator for the passing game, according to the report.

Walton has coached the Lions defensive backs the last three seasons. The Lions announced the re-signings of coordinators Gunther Cunningham (defense), Scott Linehan (offense) and Danny Crossman (special teams). They have extended offers to their assistant coaches, too, but have not announced any signings.

The Rams recently hired former Titans head coach Jeff Fisher to be their new head coach. Gregg Williams, who was the Saints’ defensive coordinator this past season, is their new defensive coordinator and Brian Schottenheimer, who was most recently with the Jets, has been hired as their offensive coordinator.

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Lions re-sign coordinators Cunningham, Linehan and Crossman

Posted by ttwentyman on January 12, 2012 – 1:44 pm

Lions general manager Martin Mayhew said today the team has re-signed all three of its coordinators to new contracts.

Gunther Cunningham (defense), Scott Linehan (offense) and Danny Crossman (special teams) will all return to the sideline next season.

The extensions actually occurred months ago during the regular season but were confirmed by Mayhew today.

Mayhew also expects to start working on an extension with head coach Jim Schwartz, who is entering the final year of his deal.

“We plan to start to work on that in the next couple weeks or so,” Mayhew said of the Schwartz deal.

He also said the team is now working on extensions with its assistant coaches.

“We hope to have all those guys back,” he said.

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Smith comes back big with two plays for a TD

Posted by ttwentyman on November 20, 2011 – 2:54 pm

Welcome back Kevin Smith.

Needing a spark after turning the ball over on their first three possessions, Lions RB Kevin Smith churned up a 46-yard run and a 28-yard screen pass from Matthew Stafford to put the first Lion points on the board.

Smith ran tough against the Bears last week and Lions offensive coordinator Scott Linehan said he’d probably get a bigger role in the offense today.

Unfortunately, the Lions special teams coverage unit proceeded to give up a 101-yard kickoff return for a touchdown after the Smith touchdown and the Lions are back to having to climb out of a 10-point hole.

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Offseason will be Significant for Second-Year Offensive Players

Posted by Chrissie Wywrot on February 3, 2010 – 7:40 pm

With a month having gone by since the conclusion of the regular season, Offensive Coordinator Scott Linehan is looking forward to healthier players when they return for the 2010 offseason program on March 15.

After the first two weeks of the season, injuries plagued different starters week-to-week, making it difficult for his young skill players to develop as a unit.

Linehan: “Of the pieces that we have, we’ve got a ways to go there because we were never able to consistently have Matthew (Stafford) and Calvin (Johnson) working together. We had our ups and downs with both of them staying healthy.”

This offseason will be big for Stafford and the other members of last year’s draft class. Players don’t report to their teams until the first week of May and then they can’t come back for the offseason program until late May depending on their college’s graduation date.

That leaves rookies with approximately five weeks of total offseason work, something that makes transitioning into the NFL that much harder.

For a quarterback in particular, getting that time with teammates to gel together is invaluable.

Linehan: “It’s him building a relationship with players and getting that trust factor. It’s still going to be valuable to him building his rapport with the offensive line, Brandon (Pettigrew), the backfield – all those guys.”

Working together, going over specific play types and just getting a feel for one another will undoubtedly have tangible results in 2010.

Though players are coming off injuries, the lone factor of having this time to work with the coaching staff is still beneficial.

Additionally, both the players and coaches will be working with one another having already spent a season together. Last year, the majority of the coaching staff was new as well.

Linehan: “I’m excited about the second go-round because you’re not putting together a playbook working with guys you’ve never worked with. Having that continuity going into this offseason and knowing what we have and knowing where we’ve got to get to be at a different level than we were a year ago – that’s exciting.”

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Linehan Optimistic Moving Forward to 2010

Posted by Chrissie Wywrot on January 28, 2010 – 7:26 pm

Detroit Lions offensive coordinator Scott Linehan sat down with Sirius NFL Radio on Wednesday to talk about this year’s Senior Bowl quarterbacks as well as the state of the Detroit Lions offense heading into the 2010 season.

While Linehan has been working with Central Michigan QB Dan LeFevour, Oregon State QB Sean Canfield and Cincinnati QB Tony Pike from the North squad, he has also taken a look at the South squad quarterbacks in Jarrett Brown (West Virginia), Zac Robinson (Oklahoma State) and Tim Tebow (Florida).

During his interview on Sirius, Linehan was asked about tinkering with the mechanics of these players this week.

Linehan: “I think the things with what people are saying about Tim or Tony – those guys are going to get better at it because they’re great athletes and they’re great competitors. They understand that there are certain things that they’ve got to improve on that maybe they haven’t been working on to this point because of a different type of system or something like that.

“But you start with the fact that they’re winners and they’re great players and they win a lot of football games – that’s the fun part is getting them better at some of the fine points in their game.”

In addition to the college players Linehan is working with this week, he was asked about Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford and his development throughout the 2009 season.

Linehan: “I was real proud of Matt his year. This only disappointing part about his season was the injuries. We’ve got to get that in the past and keep him upright and do those things. Somebody asked me the other day the question about rookies coming into the locker room and all that, I said, ‘Certain guys get it and Matthew is one.’ He was the No. 1 pick, highly touted, highly paid, all those things, but he came in and was just one of the guys and he didn’t try to be anybody but himself. We respond to that.”

Linehan says Stafford’s ability to walk into the locker room and be “one of the guys” really showed up with his grit and toughness.

The most memorable game for Lions fans is Detroit’s win over Cleveland in which Stafford rallied the team with five touchdowns to win in the final play.

Linehan: “I think everybody knew he was, but it’s extremely off the chart. That’s the kind of guy you rally around. He drags himself up off the turf and he’ll play with anything. We basically had to shut him down – he would have kept playing, but he was really banged up. He’s got the skill set, he’s got the mindset, got the great leadership kind of aura about him. I just think he’s going to be a fantastic player.”

Also discussed was Detroit’s offense and how it will respond in 2010 after spending a year in Linehan’s system.

While Linehan says things won’t “be easy” by any stretch, the fact that the players are familiar with both him and the scheme will prove beneficial.

Linehan: “We do have a couple pieces in place that we can rally around. If we continue to build around those, improve on things that weren’t good enough, continue to build on some of the things that we’re happy with – with a young team, with a young quarterback that you believe in and a great receiver like Calvin – I think we’re only going to get better.”

Listen to Linehan’s full interview on Sirius NFL Radio

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Lions Prepare for Rival Bears

Posted by Tara Altman on September 30, 2009 – 9:52 pm

One of the contributing factors to the Lions victory on Sunday was the running game which produced 154 yards on 36 carries.

Of those rushing yards, running back Kevin Smith produced 101, marking his third career 100-yard rushing game.

Smith, who left the game in the third quarter after suffering a shoulder injury, has been a crucial part of the Lions offense by not only gaining yardage on the ground, but also creating opportunity in the passing game.

Offensive Coordinator Scott Linehan on the disappointment of Smith’s injury: “Well, injuries are part of it. It’s always disappointing when you lose players for whatever reason, but injuries – that’s part of the game that you’ve got to deal with. It’s another person’s opportunity to come in and make a key play like Maurice (Morris) did on the touchdown and that’s why you have a full team.  Kevin will get back; you’ve just got to handle that … that’s some of the adversity that’s going to happen in games and in-season that you’ve got to deal with – it’s part of the game.”

This week the Lions prepare to head to Soldier Field to face the rival Chicago Bears, which will be another big challenge for the offense in protecting the passer and running the ball.

Linehan: “Well, they’re playing great defensive football. It seems like every week we turn around and we’re playing one of the best defenses in the league. They’re playing extremely well. They’re playing exactly how they’re built, getting teams in tough situations, and letting their athletes run around. They’ve got 11 guys flying to the ball; very athletic and fast defense that creates some real match-up problems for you.

“We’ve got to sustain a lot of things both on the ground and through the air. Stay on the field; keep drives alive and stay out of unfavorable down and distance situations because these guys can flat-out get to the quarterback.”

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