Earlier in the week, reports out of Tennessee suggested that the Detroit Lions had hired former Titans inside linebackers coach Tyrone McKenzie to be their next linebackers coach. However, the Lions hadn’t confirmed the news, nor had any major national media outlets supported the news out of Tennessee.
However, Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press spoke to Lions head coach Matt Patricia this week and confirmed that McKenzie is now part of the Lions’ staff. That being said, Patricia wouldn’t commit to a defined role for McKenzie, meaning there’s no guarantee he’ll be the linebackers coach, despite the fact that Detroit has a vacancy there after firing Al Golden earlier this year.
On new assistant Tyrone McKenzie, Lions coach Matt Patricia said today McKenzie is officially part of the staff but his exact responsibilities are TBD. Lions still could add/shuffle more assistants. McKenzie worked with ILBs at Tennessee, could have same role in Detroit— Dave Birkett (@davebirkett) January 31, 2020
McKenzie comes to Detroit after serving as the Titans inside linebackers coach for two seasons under Mike Vrabel. Coincidentally, both McKenzie and Vrabel were linebackers for the New England Patriots when Matt Patricia served as the LB coach in Foxborough.
During his time in Tennessee, McKenzie helped a couple of young Titan linebackers progress and grow, including 2018 first-round pick Rashaan Evans and 2019 sixth-round pick David Long Jr.
Now McKenzie will likely be tasked with a similar goal: helping out Detroit’s young linebacking corps, including second-year defender Jahlani Tavai and former first-round pick Jarrad Davis.