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Detroit Lions’ Hiring of Assistant Coaches with Experience Helps Staff

January 25th, 2014 at 10:44 PM
By Max DeMara

The Detroit Lions quietly added another position coach late this week, signing Alan Williams, former defensive coordinator of the Minnesota Vikings to be the team's secondary coach. For those worried about the lack of experience of Teryl Austin, that was good news

'Minnesota Vikings vs. San Francisco 49ers' photo (c) 2010, Amy Meredith - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/

Austin has already been welcomed aboard as the team's defensive coordinator, and as a former secondary coach himself will no doubt benefit from WIlliams' experienced pair of eyes helping out his old spot. Considering Austin is a rookie calling plays, having Williams on the sideline will help, as well, as many are worried about deficiencies there.

Jim Caldwell has built his staff in perhaps the most responsible way possible. On defense, he's got Bill Sheridan, a former defensive coordinator and Williams, who called plays for Leslie Frasier in Minnesota. Offensively, the Lions hired Robert Prince as wide receivers coach who also has experience calling plays at the collegiate level and being a wide receivers coach in three separate NFL stops, the most recent coming in Seattle.

Caldwell is smart to fill his staff with successful former coordinators and established position coaches. This should help bridge the gap for a couple inexperienced NFL play callers in Joe Lombardi and Austin. With people to rely on like Sheridan, Williams and Prince, the staff should be cohesive with plenty of spare eyes to help during plenty of in-game situations, which will allow confidence to grow. Really, there's no reason for anyone to be concerned about either Austin or Lombardi, because both have been given enough help to succeed.

Also, credit Caldwell for realizing the Lions' weak points in 2013 and making it a point to hire coaches to aid in their improvement. A young secondary needs help in all aspects, and the wide receivers, for all the positive press they receive, still were near the top of the league in drops and badly need to develop options other than Calvin Johnson. Throw in the fact that Caldwell himself and Lombardi figure to coach up Matthew Stafford and it's clear that three areas where Detroit was weakest in 2013 could be completely overhauled with coaching alone.

It's proof that Caldwell understands successful teambuilding. That's another reason fans should not feel uneasy about his appointment as head coach, nor the appointment of two coordinators short on NFL play calling experience..

Max DeMara is the managing editor of Lions 101. You can find him on this site's Twitter @detroitlions101

Tags: Alan Williams, Calvin Johnson, Detroit, Detroit Lions, Football, Joe Lombardi, Matthew Stafford, NFL, Robert Prince, Teryl Austin

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