NFC North: Bobby Johnson

Lions complete offensive staff

January, 14, 2013
Let's update our earlier post on the Detroit Lions coaching staff. The team has announced replacements for the three assistant coaches that departed earlier this month. The news leaves only their special-teams coordinator position to be filled; it opened Monday when Danny Crossman departed to join the Buffalo Bills in a similar capacity.

A closer look at the changes:

Coach: Running backs/running game coordinator Curtis Modkins
Came from: Buffalo Bills, where he was offensive coordinator/running backs from 2010-12.
Comment: The Bills ranked fifth in the NFL last season in average yards per rush (5.0) and sixth in rushing yards (2,217).

Coach: Tight ends coach Bobby Johnson
Came from: Jacksonville Jaguars, where he was the tight ends coach in 2012
Comment: Johnson has spent most of his career as a college tight ends or offensive line coach.

Coach: Offensive line coach Jeremiah Washburn
Came from: Was the Lions' assistant offensive line coach from 2009-12.
Comment: He is the son of longtime NFL assistant Jim Washburn.

Coach: Wide receivers coach Tim Lappano
Came from: Was the Lions' tight ends coach from 2009-12.
Comment: Being entrusted with coaching Calvin Johnson is a prized promotion.
A few months ago, there was reason to wonder whether Danny Crossman would finish the 2012 season as the Detroit Lions' special teams coordinator. The Lions had just become the first team in NFL history to allow a punt and kickoff to be returned for touchdowns in consecutive games, and fans were calling for Crossman's job.

Coach Jim Schwartz stayed with Crossman, who steadied the ship for the remainder of the season. Monday, however, Crossman left the Lions to join the Buffalo Bills in a similar capacity. Anwar S. Richardson of first reported the move. I've confirmed it, but from what I understand, Crossman left by choice because he and new Bills coach Doug Marrone are longtime friends.

Schwartz let three assistants go earlier this month, but he was planning to enter the 2013 season with Crossman still on staff. No replacement has been hired, but multiple news outlets are suggesting former Tennessee Titans assistant Alan Lowry as a likely target.

Meanwhile, according to Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press, the Lions have hired former Jacksonville Jaguars assistant Bobby Johnson to coach their tight ends and have moved Tim Lappano from tight ends coach to running backs coach. That leaves three vacancies on the Lions' staff: Receivers coach, offensive line coach and special teams coordinator.
We're Black and Blue All Over:

And, just like that, the 2012 season is over in the NFC North. Three of our teams finished with double-digit victories. Two qualified for the playoffs. Now, after Saturday night's events at Candlestick Park, everyone is home for the winter.

The blog? We'll keep rolling on, as always. We have the Chicago Bears' coaching search to keep us busy. I have some "Rewind'12" items I would like to get to, and I also want to renew our "Big Decision" series to preview what is in store over the next few months. And, crazy as it might sound, draft season is right around the corner. The NFL scouting combine starts Feb. 20 in Indianapolis.

While we have a quiet moment (even after a late start), let's take a mid-morning stroll around the NFC North:
  • Green Bay Packers receiver Greg Jennings sounds like a player who knows he will be elsewhere in 2013. Speaking Sunday, via Sarah Barshop of, Jennings said: "But at the end of the day, you know the Packers are going to do what's best for the Packers. And that's not going to change whether you're No. 4 [Brett Favre], No. 80 [Donald Driver], No. 85 [Jennings], No. 77 [Cullen Jenkins]. That's going to be the case. They're going to do what's best for the Packers and the organization. And as the other half of the businessman sitting down at that table, I have to do what's best for myself and my family."
  • The Packers have some tough decisions coming on defense, writes Pete Dougherty of the Green Bay Press-Gazette.
  • Packers coach Mike McCarthy will have to decide whether defensive coordinator Dom Capers "has lost his touch and no longer has the ability to keep up with the NFL's increasingly diverse offensive attacks" or whether the Packers' defensive issues are personnel related, writes Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
  • All but one of the Bears' known 13 coaching candidates are available for second interviews this week, writes Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune.
  • The Bears' interview with Houston Texans offensive coordinator Rick Dennison was "brief," according to Mark Potash of the Chicago Sun-Times.
  • Former Bears general manager Jerry Angelo is in play for the New York Jets' open position, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter.
  • The Detroit Lions "have their usual array of serious personnel issues," writes Drew Sharp of the Detroit Free Press.
  • The Lions will add former Jacksonville Jaguars assistant Bobby Johnson to their staff, according to
  • Minnesotans shouldn't be quick to assume that the Packers' run of supremacy in the NFC North is over, writes Patrick Reusse for

Podcast: Jay Cutler on Martz's system

July, 15, 2010
Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler says he's excited to get back to work. Cutler talks about learning offensive coordinator Mike Martz's system. He also weighs in on Terrell Owens, Brett Favre and the retirement of his former coach at Vanderbilt.