For the past few weeks, we’ve only heard about Detroit Lions coaches leaving the organization. There hasn’t been even the slightest rumor about candidates that could potentially replace all of these departures. Until now.
NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport is reporting that current Boston College defensive line coach Paul Pasqualoni is a candidate to replace Teryl Austin as the Lions’ next defensive coordinator.
An intriguing future #Lions defensive coordinator target has emerged: Boston College DL coach Paul Pasqualoni. A mentor to Matt Patricia, Pasqualoni could take a job on the staff after the Super Bowl. Potentially his third stint as an NFL DC.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) January 25, 2018
Pasqualoni has immediate ties to future Lions head coach Matt Patricia. As head coach of Syracuse, Pasqualoni actually hired Patricia to be an offensive assistant in 2001. The two worked together for the next three years until Patricia took his first job with the New England Patriots.
But Pasqualoni also has experience in the NFL, too. As Rapoport notes, this would be potentially his third go-around as an NFL defensive coordinator. He served at that position in 2008-2009 with the Miami Dolphins, then took the same job (along with defensive line responsibilities in 2010). Here’s a look at how those defenses have performed:
2008 Dolphins: 9th-ranked scoring defense, 16th in DVOA
2009 Dolphins: t-25th-ranked scoring defense, 18th in DVOA
2010 Cowboys: 31st-ranked scoring defense, 27th in DVOA
While none of those statistics exactly exude confidence in the guy, his best asset is simply his familiarity with Patricia. Trust in your staff is an underrated quality in creating a solid group of coaches.
Pasqualoni’s most recent NFL job was defensive line coach for the Houston Texans in 2015 (coincidentally under Bill O’Brien, another coach from the Belichick tree). Pasqualoni resigned for “family reasons” after just one year, so that he could join the Boston College coaching staff on the east coast.
Pasqualoni is credited with developing some of the NFL’s best defensive talent. Via ESPN’s Cowboys beat writer Todd Archer:
The two best players on the Cowboys roster – DeMarcus Ware and Jason Witten – credit Pasqualoni for some of their success and they will be playing in their sixth and seventh straight Pro Bowl here at the end of the month. Both players mentioned Pasqualoni’s incredible attention to detail. During training camps Pasqualoni would work with both players on simple things like hand placement and how it would give them leverage. Witten and Ware ate up the small details they would get from him, added that to their tremendous physical skill and flourished.
We’re far from knowing whether Pasqualoni will be the next defensive coordinator in Detroit or what exactly his role would be as defensive coordinator, but it’s nice to finally have a name out there to think about.
UPDATE: Rapoport is now suggesting Pasqualoni may be up for a “senior position.”