Teryl Austin May Leave, Can Detroit Lions Move On?

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Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Vic Fangio

The heir apparent in San Francisco was left stunned as a guy who refuses to wear a shirt was hired ahead of him.  Though still technically the 49ers defensive coordinator, I don’t expect that to last after the team snubbed him for Adam Gase, then snubbed him again for Jim Tomsula.  Fangio has been expecting a head coaching position, but will end up on the street as a free agent defensive coordinator with all of the head coaching jobs filled.

The biggest obstacle for Fangio to the Lions, aside from still being with another team, is that Vic Fangio is one of the best 3-4 defensive coordinators in the NFL.  Teryl Austin ran a 4-3 defense, and keeping the defensive scheme was a sticking point during negotiations with Ken Whisenhunt last offseason.  It’s a part of the reason he is a Titans coach and Caldwell was brought in with Austin to coach the Lions.

Fangio inherited a roster full of strong 3-4 personnel in San Francisco, but he’d only have a few building blocks in Detroit.  The team would have to find a way to turn their defensive roster around very quickly if they wanted to successfully run his scheme, and it would take more than a single offseason to do so.  With their best defensive player’s future uncertain, it would be a huge leap to switch schemes at this point.  Still, stranger things have happened.

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