As I’m sure you know by now, the coaching set is complete as far as the main components are concerned have been acquired. There is a nice Free Press article on Coach Linehan by Carlos Monarrez:
When Scott Linehan was the Minnesota Vikings’ offensive coordinator, quarterback Daunte Culpepper passed for 4,717 yards, 39 touchdowns and had a 110.9 passer rating in 2004.
But in order for the Lions to have a future, coach Jim Schwartz said Friday, Linehan cannot tie himself to the past, or to Culpepper, as he takes over as the Lions’ offensive coordinator.
“I think part of the dynamic of a new coaching staff is that you not have those loyalties,” Schwartz said in announcing Linehan’s hiring at team headquarters in Allen Park. “I think one of the reasons you have turnarounds is you have players that are proving themselves to new coaches. You have coaches that are proving themselves to new players. I don’t want that connection. We were very clear that that connection isn’t going to necessarily mean we’re either keeping or not keeping Daunte.”
Culpepper’s status with the Lions is uncertain. He signed a two-year contract and played five games before a shoulder injury sidelined him the final three games. He is due to receive a $2.5-million roster bonus in March.
The Rams fired Linehan when he started the season 0-4. Before becoming St. Louis’ head coach in 2006, he was the offensive coordinator at Miami in 2005 and at Minnesota in 2002-04.
“I’ve gone against Scott in the past,” Schwartz said. “I have a lot of respect for his offenses, in particular the work he did at Miami with a colleague of mine, Nick Saban. That had a lot to do with his hiring.”
Schwartz worked as a scout for Cleveland in the early 1990s when Saban was the Browns’ defensive coordinator. They also share the same agent and a similar situation.
When Saban was a defense-oriented rookie NFL coach with Miami in 2005, he hired Linehan, who transformed the Dolphins’ offense. Miami went from being ranked 29th with 4,960 yards in 2004 to being ranked 14th with 5,198 yards in 2005.
“Went to Miami on a team probably a lot like us here was going through a transformation, a new program,” Schwartz said. “Had a lot of success with a defensive-minded head coach and executing what that vision that Nick had, and he turned it into a head-coaching opportunity.”
Schwartz said the Lions may still hire someone to coach quarterbacks in technical aspects, but Linehan will direct the unit.
“I think quarterbacks need one voice,” Schwartz said. “They need the offensive coordinator’s voice.”
Linehan’s offenses have produced big numbers. Culpepper in Minnesota and Marc Bulger in St. Louis passed for more than 4,000 yards. Running backs such as Michael Bennett and Steven Jackson regularly had 1,000-yard seasons under Linehan, and receivers like Torry Holt and Isaac Bruce amassed 1,000-yard seasons.
“If you look at his background, he’s always run the ball very well, and he’s used the weapons very well,” Schwartz said. “He’s good at attacking defenses.
“Quite honestly, we’re not hiring a scheme. We’re not hiring a philosophy. The philosophy is going to be set and Scott understands that, and he’s going to do a good job of executing that philosophy. And that might change from week to week. There might be some games where we have to throw it more. Some games, by necessity, we’ll have to run it more.”
Linehan, who interviewed Thursday with the Lions, turned down the same job Sunday with San Francisco.
Am I the only one that thinks it a strange coincidence that we get an Offensive Coordinator from the Rams again? Also the 49ers thing… He turned down the job that belonged to the guy that we initially picked up after the Rams fired. The football universe is indeed a small one.
And now for my asinine commentary. I would say that we are 2/3 as far as coaching is concerned. Schwartz was a definate overachievement, I think that we’ve obtained the best possible candidate for the current state of the franchise (we are at expansion team status) as far as head coaching is concerned.
Linehan is a good pick up for offensive coordinator as I like the work he did with the Rams and it’s extremely relevant because he has experience with a dome team. The dynamic is a little different and there are things that you can get away with at home.
Gunther is the question mark here. Replacing the worst defensive coordinator with the second worst defensive coordinator leaves me unsettled. Yeah blah blah blah he wasn’t running the scheme that he wanted to run in Kansas City, I don’t feel that is a vialbe excuse. If you don’t like to run the scheme that the head coach wants to run, why did you take the job? Did you not cover this in the interview process? “Yeah we’re going to run the cover 2 here, is that a problem?” “… uh, I suck at cover 2 I want to run a 3-4. Maybe this isn’t the job for me”.
In the end, you could have the best coaching staff in the universe, but they can’t get wins if the talent sucks. And our talent sucks. Like I mentioned prior, we are an expansion team right now. We have Calvin Johnson and two 1st round picks. I want to know who is going to do the grocery shopping, that is my primary concern because I have such little faith in the Lions ability to draft. Was this completely the Matt Millen show for the last 8 years? I’m to believe that Mayhew hadn’t a single word of input in the process? We’ll see in April, up until then all we can do is speculate (and you better believe we will!).