The Detroit Lions have started to make changes to their coaching staff, according to MLive's Anwar Richardson. Specifically, the changes involve the Lions severing ties with wide receivers coach Shawn Jefferson, running backs coach Sam Gash and tight ends coach Tim Lappano. Essentially, the coaches for most of the skill positions on offense aren't being retained.
It's important to note the distinction between the Lions firing these coaches and simply electing to not bring them back. Based on Richardson saying the Lions severed ties with the trio of coaches, it seems to me that none of them were under contract for next season. Not retaining them essentially equates to the same result as a firing in terms of making changes, but there is technically a difference.
To me, these moves indicate that the Lions have chosen their scapegoats for the offense's struggles in 2012. While there still could be more changes, I get the sense that Scott Linehan is returning as offensive coordinator. A lot of blame for the offense's woes has been placed on fumbles and dropped passes, and ultimately I suppose these assistants are responsible for coaching the players behind those mistakes.
I do have to say, I'm a bit surprised the Lions aren't retaining Jefferson. Say what you want about the issues with drops and the whole Titus Young situation, but I thought Jefferson had done a pretty good job. I suppose having Calvin Johnson can make any wide receivers coach look good, but that one caught me off guard a bit. The news that Gash and Lappano are also out is not nearly as much of a shock.
UPDATE: Tim Twentyman reports that the story about Lappano being let go is not accurate. Jefferson and Gash do appear to be gone, though.
UPDATE II: Here's what Jefferson had to say on Twitter on Monday night:
Its been great 9yrs n da D. Ive been blessed w/ coaching da best 2 WR n da league @nate13burleson @bigplaycj81-thnk u fords & Martin Mayhew— shawn jefferson (@shawnjefferson5) December 31, 2012
The fact that he didn't mention Jim Schwartz in his tweet may say a lot about the situation behind the scenes right now.
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