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After the Green Bay Packers announced they were hiring Nathaniel Hackett as their next offensive coordinator Jake Rudock Jersey , Detroit Lions fans were left with their hands in their pockets. All three coaches the Lions were rumored to be interested in have found
coaching jobs elsewhere—four if you include Adam Gase. Steve Sarkisian headed to
the college ranks to join Alabama as their offensive coordinator. Hackett is
Matt LaFleur’s latest hire to the Packers. And Todd Monken is the offensive
coordinator—without play-calling responsibilities—of the Browns. So with no
rumors to snack on, all we’re left with is speculation and educated guesses. Now
that the Lions offensive coordinator search is entering week three, it seems
logical to conclude that the team has zeroed in on someone, and the fact that
they haven’t been hired is a good sign that the target is currently unavailable.
The Lions can’t hire someone in the playoffs, so it stands to reason that’s
where we should start our search for the next candidate.And no news could be
very well end up being good news for the Lions. All four remaining teams in the
playoffs finished as the top four scoring offenses in 2018. The Chiefs (35.3
PPG), Rams (32.9 PPG), Saints (31.5 PPG) and Patriots (27.2) have led the charge
in the offensive revolution in the NFL, and to take someone from any of those
trees would make a lot of sense for a Lions team that finished 25th in scoring
last season.Here are some candidates from those remaining teams that the Lions
may be targeting.PatriotsWR coach Chad O’SheaLet’s start with the obvious. Matt
Patricia has shown that he likes surrounding himself with people he
knows—whether it be from his days in Syracuse or his 14 years in New England.
O’Shea seems like the most likely candidate from the Patriots, as it looked like
he was next in line as New England’s offensive coordinator had Josh McDaniels
landed a head coaching job this year. O’Shea has been with the Patriots for a
decade, holding onto the wide receivers coach position for his entire tenure.
However Danny Amendola Jersey , there were signs that the Patriots were molding him to become the next offensive coordinator. He called plays in New England’s
preseason finale in 2017, and McDaniels has consistently showered him with
praise throughout his career. Take these quotes from McDaniels:“One of the best
assistant coaches I’ve ever had the chance to work with.”“Chad’s unbelievable.
He’s incredibly responsible for any and all of our success in the red
zone.”Assistant QB coach Jerry SchuplinskiThe Lions just got rid of Jim Bob
Cooter, who had been Matthew Stafford’s closest coach and confidant. Stafford
could use a new mentor, and the guy that helped mold Jimmy Garoppolo and Jacoby
Brissett could be a good fit—especially since the Lions have had trouble
developing a backup quarterback behind Stafford for years. Here’s what Garoppolo
had to say about Schuplinski:Schuplinski has been with the Patriots since 2013,
starting first as an offensive assistant then promoted to his current position
in 2016. ChiefsNote: Chiefs OC Eric Bieniemy was a top name for head coaching
jobs, but it’s unlikely he’d jump from the Chiefs offensive coordinator job to
the same position with the Lions, so I’m not including him.QB coach Mike KafkaIt
seems not so long ago, Kafka was backing up the likes of Michael Vick and Kevin
Kolb with the Eagles, but the former NFL quarterback has quickly made an
impression on the coaching world. It would be incredibly odd for a quarterback
taken in the draft AFTER Stafford was taken to lead the offense, but Kafka was
one of the prime candidates to take over had Bieniemy landed a head coaching
job.TE coach Tom MelvinWhile Mike Kafka is the unproven up-and-comer Trey Flowers Jersey , Melvin is the long-tenured coach that has worked alongside Andy Reid for nearly his entire career. Melvin dabbled with offensive
coordinator duties back in the 90s in college, but has been tied to Reid’s hip
since. The Reid coaching tree has seen a lot of success, so if the Lions could
somehow pry Melvin from his mentor, it could be worth it, but it’s been a long,
long time in football years since he’s run an offense.RamsPassing game
coordinator Shane WaldronArguably the leading candidate for the Lions’ OC job,
Waldron’s connection to the Lions has been repeated over and over again. He
spent two years in New England as the offensive quality control coach and the
tight ends coach. Having already seen a promotion under Sean McVay’s outstanding
offense, Waldron clearly is well respected around Los Angeles these days. Back
in November, McVay told the Detroit media that he believes Waldron is ready for
an offensive coordinator gig.“There’s no doubt about it,” McVay said. “He’s a
great coach and he’s certainly ready if that’s the next step that he decides he
wants to take.”QB coach Zac TaylorAssuming there is no Josh McDaniels type of
backout Damon Harrison Jersey , Taylor will become the Bengals head coach. Don’t bother getting your hopes up. SaintsAssistant head coach/tight ends coach Dan
CampbellCampbell received a fair amount of interest for head coaching gigs
around the NFL this year, landing interview requests from the Browns and
Packers. Though it’s unclear if he would accept an offensive coordinator gig, he
certainly has the pedigree for it. He served as an interim head coach for the
Dolphins in 2015 and has the leadership qualities that has made him a head
coaching candidate ever since. The problem with Campbell would be his lack of
coordinator experience. As Sporting News’ Alex Marvez put it, Campbell is more
of a big picture leader and “has never displayed his Xs-and-Os acumen as a
coordinator.” QB coach Joe Lombardilol, nah. Senior offensive assistant/wide
receivers coach Curtis JohnsonJohnson has a coaching career that spans 35 years.
He’s mostly been a wide receivers coach but his first tenure with the Saints
earned him a head coaching job with Tulane for four seasons. After that didn’t
go so hot, Johnson eventually returned to the Saints in 2017 as the wide
receivers coach/senior offensive assistant. Though he hasn’t shown any interest
as an offensive coordinator, it’s clear head coach Sean Payton thinks highly of
him. After giving up 13 sacks in the first seven games of the season, things
have gone off the rails in pass protection for the Lions the last two
weeks.They’ve allowed 16 sacks in lopsided losses to the Vikings and Bears that
leave the Lions at 3-6 and looking up at the rest of the NFC North. It’s also
led to questions about whether the constant pressure has led to a drop in play
for quarterback Matthew Stafford.Stafford is on pace for career worsts on a
variety of fronts, but offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter initially said that
a perspective on how Stafford’s played is “sort of Detroit Lions information.”
Cooter opened up a bit more on the topic of whether pressure was changing the
quarterback’s play later in his media session.“No, Stafford’s a really tough
guy Ricky Jean Francois Jersey ,” Cooter said, via MLive.com. “Obviously offensively, I have to do a better job and we have to do a better job of
protecting our quarterback through playcalling, scheme, execution, all those
things. At the end of the day, we have to get that number down and do a better
job with that. Stafford hangs in there. Stafford’s a tough guy. He’ll take a hit
when needed. We just need to do a better job of protecting him. It starts with
me, I have to improve the way we’re going about doing that and fix some of those
errors.”The Lions face the Panthers this week and Carolina’s defense has
produced 22 sacks so far this season. If Detroit can’t stop them from padding
that total, it’s hard to imagine a different result from the last couple of
weeks.
Posted 09 Sep 2019

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