One Detroit Lions coaching vacancy has been filled.
On Tuesday, the team announced that former assistant offensive line coach Hank Fraley has been promoted to offensive line coach, filling the position left vacant after Jeff Davidson’s resignation last week.
Last Thursday, Davidson—along with defensive coordinator Paul Pasqualoni—stepped down from their current positions for personal reasons, opting to spend time away from football.
Fraley’s promotion likely means there won’t be much changed in regards to scheme or strategy with the offensive line. Fraley had been Davidson’s assistant for the past two years, and the results have been somewhat promising. The Lions rushing attack has improved little by little since the two arrived.
2017 (pre-Davidson/Fraley): 76.3 rushing yards per game, 3.4 YPC
2018: 103.8 rushing yards per game, 4.1 YPC
2019: 103.1 rushing yards per game, 4.1 YPC
Pass protection has also improved a bit for Detroit. Though the Lions allowed 43 sacks this year (t-13th most) their pass block win rate ranked 15th overall.
To take Fraley’s place as assistant offensive line coach, the Lions promoted Billy Yates, who was previously serving as a coach on the team’s Minority Assistantship program. He also played eight seasons in the NFL as an offensive lineman, including five years with the Patriots.
At the moment, the Lions still have vacancies at the following positions: tight ends coach, defensive coordinator, linebackers coach, defensive backs coach, special teams coordinator, assistant strength and performance coach, and football performance coordinator.
One more position to keep an eye out on is quarterbacks coach. According to the Detroit Free Press, the current QB coach, Sean Ryan, is good friends with former Baylor coach Matt Rhule and was going to be his pick for offensive coordinator when Rhule nearly took the New York Jets coaching job last year. It now appears Rhule will be the next Panthers head coach, and he may want to take Ryan with him.