On Wednesday afternoon during his introductory press conference, Jim Caldwell was blunt when it came to the completion of his coaching staff, telling the media it was an ongoing process and they'd soon see a few moves. After a busy Thursday, it's clear the coach knew what he was talking about.
The day started with the announcement of Teryl Austin as defensive coordinator. During the middle of the day, a few more rumors swirled about who Caldwell and Austin might bring with them as defensive coaches. NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reported Bill Sheridan (formally of Tampa Bay) and Vance Joseph (formally of Houston) were both rumored to be in play for a defensive job in Detroit. Neither has been hired yet, but both could eventually be added to the staff.
Later in the day, Caldwell hosted individual meetings with all of Detroit's remaining assistants. For some, the news sounded good. Special teams coach John Bonamego reportedly will keep his job, as will running backs coach Curtis Modkins, and reportedly, defensive line coach Jim Washburn. Rumors say Jeremiah Washburn will be retained as well. All of those coaches deserve to return thanks to solid results at their spots last season, many would argue.
For many, the news about one of the men rumored to be not returning speaks major volumes as well. According to Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun and National Football Post, quarterbacks coach Todd Downing, who became a lightning rod for criticism late in the season thanks to his sketchy resume and the struggles of Matthew Stafford, reportedly will not be retained, meaning Stafford may get the chance to learn from an actual, established quarterbacks coach in 2014.
There's one staff position that hasn't been addressed yet with rumors, rumblings or otherwise and that's the offensive coordinator spot. Bill Lazor took the same job with the Miami Dolphins after being rumored to be Caldwell's top pick. Clyde Christensen, Caldwell's former offensive coordinator in Indianapolis and current Colts' quarterbacks coach, is rumored to be in play, but the Lions have not yet asked the Colts permission to talk to Christensen. Detroit might also be interested in Kansas City Chiefs' assistant head coach coach and wide receiver coach David Culley to call their plays.
Expect more definite announcements to be made regarding the staff in the coming days. Until then, the good news is, several of the Lions' better teaching assistants from the past few years under Jim Schwartz appear to be safe for now.
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