Like it or not, Jim Schwartz is coming back next year, along with his coordinators: Gunther Cunningham, whose defense has just allowed well over 400 points again last year and Scott Linehan, who yes he has predictable, what do you expect from an offense that has one elite weapon and a bunch of scrubs. They still managed to move the football down the field from time to time.
There's also some holes on the coaching staff, at the Running Backs, Wide Reciever, and Offensive Line position coaches.
For Coaches, might I say that Chan Gailey would be an excellent addition to the coaching staff has a Senior Offensive Assistant, and possibly recievers coach. Chan Gailey was a failure as a NFL Head Coach and college football head coach, but this guy certainly knows offense. He's worked in Denver with the John Elway led offenses. He's worked in Pittsburgh during their Super Bowl run. He led the Miami Dolphins to two of the best offensive seasons of the Wannstedt era, with Jay Fielder as his starting QB. He also brought the Buffalo Bills offense to respectability with no name talent on offense, and oversaw the development of CJ Spiller and Stevie Johnson into offensive weapons. He made the undertalented Ryan Fitzpatrick look like an average NFL QB, for a guy who only is above average in intelligence.
Most importantly for Chan Gailey, there is a connection here: he's worked with Gunther Cunningham in KC, and he was the man who recruited Calvin Johnson to Georgia Tech. He also coached against Matthew Stafford's Georgia Bulldogs granted he lost every time but certainly, Gailey would have an idea or two how to utilize him if Scott Linehan falters next year as offensive coordinator. He hasnt been a position coach since the late 80s, and has either been a Coordinator or Head Coach since, Chan Gailey would be an excellent addition to the Lions coaching staff (maybe as recievers coach or a consultant).
Another name that would be an excellent addition to the offensive coaching staff is Curtis Modkins, Gailey's longtime understudy. Curtis Modkins who is still fairly young, he's 40, and is another good coach who served as Buffalo's Offensive Coordinator by title last year, although Gailey called the plays as head coach. Modkins has been an understudy to eventually be an offensive coordinator for a while now, but next year he could possibly return to being a position coach next year. Modkin's has been the Running Backs coach for the Bills, Chiefs, Georgia Tech, and the Cardinals. Last year he oversaw the development of CJ Spiller to a record 6.0 ypc season average. He's also worked with Fred Jackson, Jamaal Charles, Larry Johnson, and Beanie Wells. All have excelled with Modkins as their Running Back's coach, so it's fair to say with his background, he would be a quality additon to the coaching staff next year, and could even be a package deal with Chan Gailey. Either one are capable of calling the plays next year if Scott Linehan falters.
The last Bill's assistant under the spotlight his their ex-Offensive Line Coach Joe D'Alessandris. D'Alessandris has slowly worked his worked his way up through the NFL Coaching ranks, he was an Assistant O-Line Coach for the Cheifs and was the Buffalo Bills Offensive Line Coach last year. What's to like about him? In Buffalo he oversaw the development of Cordy Glenn, Eric Wood, and Andy Levitre into quality NFL starters, and also revived the career of former Pittsburgh Steelers disappointment, Kraig Urbik and Bronco's castoff Erik Pears into quality players. Cordy Glenn took the starting Left Tackle job in Buffalo and never looked back. Only Matt Kalil had a better season among rookie Offensive Lineman. The Lions have Riley Rieff and a first round pick invested in him. Could D'Alessandris be the man who helps him realize his potential? He's not Hudson Houck, Jim McNally, or Alex Gibbs, but he's done a nice job so far.
For Players, Louis Delmas is a free agent next year, and the question will be with him: will the team want to invest long term with Delma's and his injury record? If the Lions were looking to go in another direction at free safety, spend the money on Jairus Byrd if he hits the open market which he could, if he doesn't get tagged or traded by Buffalo. GM Martin Mayhew already has said he wants to add playmakers on defense, and look no further than the Pro Bowl caliber player that Jairus Byrd is, whom has 18 career interceptions and 10 forced fumbles in his four year career.
One more position the team could fare to upgrade at is on the Offensive Line. Both Andy Levitre and Eric Wood are free agents next year. Dominic Raiola has been a loyal foot soldier for the last decade, and eventually the team will have to start thinking of his replacement within the next year or two. Eric Wood would bring an excellent addition to the interior line at guard or center. He paved the way for CJ Spiller last year, and has been a great player on the Bills strong Offensive Line. The only drawback to Wood is he is injury prone. Andy Levitre is another member of that Bills line who could help the Lions. Levitre is a jack of all trades type who can certainly provide a stablizing presence on the line. Levitre is good enough to warrant Pro Bowl consideration and is one of the most underrated guards in the league. He can even play tackle in a pinch.
The Detroit Lions have many holes that they need to fill this offseason; improving the talent around Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson, getting another corner, finding a replacement for Cliff Avril, and also maybe even finding another DE to eventually replace the aging KVB.