By: Will Burchfield
In the span of five days, the Lions have lost both their defensive line coaches.
Kris Kocurek, who was in charge of that unit this season, has accepted the same duty with the Dolphins, his wife announced on Wednesday via Facebook.
Kocurek joined the Lions in 2009 as an assistant defensive line coach, before being promoted to head defensive line coach the following season. Known for his loud, forceful presence in practice, he oversaw the growth of a number of fearsome pass rushers in Detroit.
He’ll reunite with one of them — Ndamukong Suh — in Miami. Kocurek will also reconnect with former Lions linebackers coach Matt Burke, who’s now the Dolphins’ defensive coordinator.
One player upon whom Kocurek had a strong influence in Detroit is pending unrestricted free agent Ziggy Ansah. Ansah played under Kocurek for his first five seasons in the NFL as he established himself as one of the better pass-rushers in the league.
The Lions must decide whether to franchise tag Ansah for about $18 million next season or let him walk in free agency.
With Detroit expected to hire Patriots defensive coordinator Matt Patricia as its next head coach, the faces beneath him will continue to change. Assistant defensive line coach Matt Raich departed last week for the Bengals to become an assistant under Teryl Austin.
The only coach from the Jim Caldwell era who appears safe, at this point, is offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter.