Lions Hire Teryl Austin, Retain Seven Coaches From Schwartz’s Staff
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By Ashley Dunkak
DETROIT (CBS DETROIT) – New Detroit Lions head coach Jim Caldwell met the media and made his inaugural address Wednesday, and Friday it seems Caldwell is already well on his way to having his coaching staff in place.
Long considered the favorite for the defensive coordinator role once the Lions announced Caldwell’s hire, former Baltimore Ravens defensive backs coach Teryl Austin will be the man replacing Gunther Cunningham with the Lions.
Austin has 10 seasons of NFL experience coaching defensive backs, with stints at Seattle and Arizona before his most recent stop in Baltimore. In 2013, the Ravens finished 12th in the league in pass defense. Years earlier at Arizona, Austin worked with Pro Bowl defensive backs Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Antrel Rolle and Adrian Wilson.
The Lions finished 23rd in pass defense in 2013, so Austin’s secondary expertise is desperately needed.
Former Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive coordinator Bill Sheridan will also be joining the Lions, taking over the job of working with linebackers.
Caldwell has decided to keep seven members of former head coach Jim Schwartz’s staff, according to Detroitlions.com reporter Tim Twentyman.
Special teams coordinator John Bonamego, under whom kick returner Jeremy Ross blossomed nicely, will be back, and so will run game coordinator Curtis Modkins. Jeremiah Washburn and Kris Kocurek are returning to continue coaching the defensive line, while Jim Washburn and Terry Heffernan will stay on to coach the offensive line. Bobby Johnson, who coached tight ends in 2013, will also return.
Quite a few members of Schwartz’s staff, though, will be looking for jobs. Defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham and offensive coordinator Scott Linehan were both released. Defensive backs coaches Marcus Robertson and Steven Jackson are also gone, along with linebackers coaches Matt Burke and Bradford Banta. Quarterbacks coach Todd Downing and receivers coach Tim Lappano will not return either, and neither will quality control coach Kyle Valero.