Teryl Austin May Leave, Can Detroit Lions Move On?

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Jun 12, 2013; Owings Mills, MD, USA; Baltimore Ravens secondary coach Teryl Austin (center, right) holds up a play during mini camp at Under Armour Performance Center. Mandatory Credit: Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

It’s pretty rare as a Detroit Lions fan that we can become distraught when a team from a different conference signs a new head coach.  When the New York Jets signed Todd Bowles, many Lions fans nearly cried.  Bowles was the only current contender for the vacant Atlanta Falcons head coach position aside from present Detroit Lions defensive coordinator Teryl Austin.  With suitors in the Bills, Bears, Falcons, 49ers, and now Broncos, Teryl Austin has been a hot commodity among coaching candidates and the possibility of leaving for greener pastures is very real.

There were some chances he stayed before, but now it seems almost a certainty that he is hired away.  I don’t remember a time that Lions fans weren’t happy for a coordinator leaving, but now the team is potentially faced with the difficult task of replacing a coach that built a fearsome image for the team and placed them in contention.  Could another coach have made the Free Hurt Defense?

There are several options, of course.  None are as good as keeping Teryl Austin for another season, but it’s possible the team could keep things together at least in part.  One of the reasons Austin met with so much success was a stellar staff of position coaches that have been able to learn (and hopefully emulate) his defensive philosophy.  There are also several candidates on the market that could fill the position, including a highly unlikely switch to a 3-4 defense.  So if Teryl Austin leaves, what ARE the options?

Next: Hiring someone in house?