Friday, January 17, 2014
Lions hire Teryl Austin as DC, add to staff
By Michael Rothstein
Two days after officially coming on board as the Detroit Lions head coach, Jim Caldwell already has a majority of his staff in place -- including one of his coordinators.
Teryl Austin, who had been the Baltimore secondary coach the past three seasons, will get his first shot at being a defensive coordinator in the NFL. He was Florida's defensive coordinator in 2010.
"He's a guy, obviously, that is extremely bright," Caldwell told WDFN in Detroit on Friday morning. "He's a guy that has, without question, has a great balance in terms of overall experience. Energetic and really has an outstanding feel for defensive football. Outstanding communicator as well."
Here's a look at what Austin has done in the past and what his defense could look like.
Caldwell also has some of the other staff ready to go.
Bill Sheridan, who was Tampa Bay's defensive coordinator in 2012 and 2013, has been hired as the team's linebackers coach. Sheridan is a Detroit native who spent time on both the Michigan and Michigan State staffs in the past coaching linebackers. He also coached linebackers at Miami from 2010 to 2011.
So far those are the only two new coaches Caldwell has brought in, although he has chosen to retain a lot of members of the staff.
Offensive line coach Jeremiah Washburn will return, along with assistant offensive line coach Terry Heffernan. Tight ends coach Bobby Johnson is also back, but Dave Birkett from the Detroit Free Press is reporting it is as an offensive line assistant.
Jim Washburn (assistant defensive line), Kris Kocurek (defensive line) and Curtis Modkins (running backs) were also retained, although it is not clear if all will remain in their same roles.
As reported Thursday, special teams coach John Bonamego will also return.
This means defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham, linebackers coach Matt Burke and secondary coach Marcus Robertson were also not being brought back. Offensive coordinator Scott Linehan, wide receivers coach Tim Lappano, assistant wide receivers coach Kyle Valero and quarterbacks coach Todd Downing were previously announced as not retained.
The biggest holes left to fill for Caldwell now are offensive coordinator, wide receivers coach and defensive backs coach, although Austin has extensive experience coaching the secondary.
Here's a look at the coaching staff chart (with obvious flexibility for staff movement):
Head coach -- Jim Caldwell
Offensive coordinator -- TBD
Defensive coordinator -- Teryl Austin
Quarterbacks -- TBD
Running backs -- Curtis Modkins
Wide Receivers -- TBD
Tight ends -- TBD
Offensive line -- Jeremiah Washburn (asst. Bobby Johnson or Terry Heffernan)
Defensive line -- Kris Kocurek (asst. Jim Washburn)
Linebackers -- Bill Sheridan
Secondary -- TBD
Special Teams -- John Bonamego