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Some Unknown Coach?
There’s no guarantee Jim Caldwell and Martin Mayhew would bring in a well known or even recognizable coach to replace Teryl Austin if he left. Neither Austin nor his compatriot on the offensive side, Joe Lombardi, had called a single play as a coordinator in the NFL when they were hired by Caldwell.
Lombardi had a history with Teryl Austin, but the same wasn’t really true of Joe Lombardi. If Austin leaves to pursue a head coaching position, his replacement could seem like someone completely random. That’s probably better than the 49ers, who made that kind of decision with their head coaching position, but it isn’t necessarily ideal.
Then again, Teryl Austin was almost completely unknown when he was hired. Most in the fan base and media were more excited about hiring Lombardi’s grandson, instead of a defensive backs coach that’s bounced around for the past decade. Whoever the Detroit Lions bring in to replace Austin, it will be a difficult transition and we’ll likely never hear of the Free Hurt Defense again. That doesn’t mean it’s going to be a complete failure, however. Lightning struck once in landing Teryl Austin, there’s no reason to believe it couldn’t happen again!