Detroit Lions set to keep Tanner Engstrand with final offensive coordinator vacancy filled

With the last NFL offensive coordinator vacancy filled, Tanner Engstrand is set to remain as the passing game coordinator for the Lions next season.

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For a minute there, it seemed like the Detroit Lions had a chance to lose both of their coordinators to head coaching jobs and at least one assistant to a promotion elsewhere. Passing game coordinator Tanner Engstrand was tied to three offensive coordinator openings (New England Patriots, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Seattle Seahawks).

The first two were filled as the last week or so has gone on, with new Seahawks' head coach Mike Macdonald still forming his staff. Late Friday night, news broke that Ryan Grubb was being hired as the new Seahawks' offensive coordinator, meaning every NFL head coach, offensive coordinator and defensive coordinator opening is now filled.

So barring something unforeseen, Engstrand will be back as the Lions' passing game coordinator in 2024. If offensive coordinator Ben Johnson leaves for a head coaching job a year from now, Engstrand stands as the top internal candidate to replace him.

Detroit Lions are surely in rare air keeping all of their top assistant coaches

The Lions are making some changes to their coaching staff, with Terrell Williams coming in as the new defensive line coach and Deshea Townsend set to become the new cornerbacks coach/defensive pass game coordinator. Official announcements have not come from the team yet, but once the entire 2024 coaching staff is settled they will.

One of the prices of team success like the Lions had this season is other teams want to tap into that success by trying to pluck assistant coaches. Coordinators become top head coaching candidates, as Johnson and defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn have. Other assistants, like Engstrand and wide receivers coach Antwaan Randle El, gets looks for a promotion elsewhere.

Without knowing exact data, it has to be rare for a conference semifinalist to (shy of deciding to make a change themselves for whatever reason) not lose any top assistant coaches to a job with another team. That speaks to the loyalty Dan Campbell's assistants have to him, and coaches broadly wanting to stay attached to the situation in Detroit for as long as they can without truly compromising their future prospects.

Update, 4:10 p.m. ET: The Lions are losing one assistant coach. According to NFL Network's Tom Pelissero, defensive backs coach Brian Duker is leaving for a job with the Miami Dolphins.

Next. 6 potential head coaching jobs for Ben Johnson in 2025. 6 potential head coaching jobs for Ben Johnson in 2025. dark

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