clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

3 theories on why the Detroit Lions are taking so long to hire an OC

We’ve got no news to work with, so IT’S SPECULATION TIME!

Cincinnati Bengals v New England Patriots Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images

It’s been a couple days since there have been any rumors about the Detroit Lions’ offensive coordinator vacancy, and the three people connected to the job have all since been hired by another team. It’s obviously a bit frustrating as a fan to have little idea where the Lions are going with their coaching search, but it doesn’t necessarily mean there isn’t a plan that is still on track happening behind the scenes.

That being said, Wednesday morning saw two more potential candidates claimed by other NFL teams. According to Ian Rapoport, former Vikings offensive coordinator John DeFilippo will be joining the Jaguars as their new offensive coach. Last year, DeFilippo was a hot name as a potential head coach candidate after helping lead the Eagles to the Super Bowl as the team’s quarterbacks coach. However, this year, he clearly didn’t mesh well with Mike Zimmer in Minnesota and was fired midseason.

Additionally, according to Rapoport, 49ers quarterback coach Rich Scangarello is expected to take the Broncos offensive coordinator job. Scangarello has offensive coordinator experience in college and working under Kyle Shanahan is obviously another attractive quality for the Broncos.

Assuming those two hires go through, there are only five more offensive coordinator jobs left vacant: Cardinals, Bengals, Dolphins, Titans and the Lions.

So what’s the deal? Here’s what could be happening:

Waiting on a playoff coach

Obviously, the Lions can’t announce a hire if their coach isn’t available to hire yet. If the Lions are waiting on someone from the four remaining playoff teams—someone they may have interviewed during Wild Card week when these teams had a bye—then it would make sense for the trail to be quiet right now.

There are a few candidates that make sense among this group, but the two that stick out are Rams passing game coordinator Shane Waldron and Patriots wide receiver coach Chad O’Shea. Both have working experience alongside Matt Patricia, and both are viewed as good enough to make the jump to offensive coordinator some day.

An internal hire is coming

With not even a rumor of an interview for an external coach, it’s natural to wonder if the Lions may be simply be looking within their own ranks to hire someone with Patricia’s vision for the offense. Quarterbacks coach George Godsey is the leading candidate there, although that would be an extremely unpopular choice among fans.

Another option would be offensive line coach Jeff Davidson. Davidson helped turn around the Lions’ offensive line last year, improving Detroit’s yards per carry from 3.4 to 4.1. However, pass protection was inconsistent, at best. Davidson also brings offensive coordinator experience, having served that role with the Panthers for four seasons. He also very clearly has the respect of Patricia, as there are rumors he is being involved in the interview process for the job.

The question about this theory is: why are the Lions taking so long? If the Lions are hiring internally, why wouldn’t they just announce it publicly. The answer to that may have come on Tuesday...

WILD CARD: Dave DeGuglielmo

The Lions may have not wanted to publicly announce their decision, because they may want the rest of their offensive staff figured out before going public. That’s where former Colts offensive line coach Dave DeGuglielmo comes in.

Indianapolis made a shocking move by letting DeGuglielmo go on Tuesday after the Colts went from allowing the most sacks in 2017 to the least in 2018. It seems like he’ll be a hot name on the market this offseason, and luckily for the Lions, he has a connection to Patricia. DeGuglielmo served as the Patriots offensive line coach for two years and was only let go after Dante Scarnecchia came out of retirement to take back the role he had for 14 years prior to DeGuglielmo. Josh McDaniels is the one who had hired DeGuglielmo for the Colts, so he’s clearly still respected within the Patriots community.

DeGuglielmo is unlikely to be a candidate for offensive coordinator, seeing as he’s coached for nearly 50 years now without that title. Additionally, the Lions already have an offensive line coach they clearly respect. So how would he fit in? This is pure conjecture here, but maybe there’s a promotion in the works for Davidson that they couldn’t confirm until DeGuglielmo was made officially available. This is just a theory, but with nothing else out there in the zeitgeist, what else do we have?