Over the past couple months, the Detroit Lions have overhauled nearly their entire coaching staff. Finalized last week, the 2021 Lions coaching staff will feature 17 new faces, including eight former players.
But let’s take one last look at the staff from last year. Because while the top of the pyramid was making some huge mistakes that would eventually drown the team, there were some coaches on staff that did their jobs admirably—several of whom have already found new jobs elsewhere.
Here are your nominees for Detroit Lions 2020 Coach of the Year:
Offensive coordinator/interim head coach Darrell Bevell
While the Lions offense wasn’t nearly as electric as many were hoping, Bevell kept Detroit interesting when they had the ball. His impact was really felt when he took over as the team’s interim head coach following Detroit’s embarrassing loss on Thanksgiving.
Matthew Stafford uncorked the long ball in the final month of the season, as the Lions went out and immediately won an intense game in Chicago in Bevell’s first NFL game as a head coach. Players widely praised Bevell’s conduct as head coach, and he made a strong case to stick around on the Lions staff in 2021, even though Detroit lost its final four games of the season.
The Lions ultimately went in a different direction, but Bevell immediately landed a job as the offensive coordinator of the Jaguars.
Offensive line coach Hank Fraley
One of the few coaches that stuck around for the new regime, Hank Fraley is as good at his job as he is well-liked. Left tackle Taylor Decker and center Frank Ragnow had career years in 2020, with Ragnow earning second-team All-Pro honors and his first career Pro Bowl nod. Rookie Jonah Jackson showed promise, as well, and Detroit’s offensive line looked competent all season, despite inconsistencies in the lineup on the right side.
Fraley, who took over for Jeff Davidson last year, has been instrumental in developing Detroit’s young offensive line, and the Lions will continue to reap the benefits in 2021, as Jackson and Logan Stenberg continue to get their footing in the NFL.
Special teams coordinator Brayden Coombs
Brayden Coombs’ legacy on the Lions will be a fascinating one to retell. He was only with the Lions for a single year, but he came with a great reputation. Immediately, it looked like a savvy hiring. Despite a short offseason with little time to prepare the special teams units and an inexperienced punter, Coombs helped construct one of the best coverage units in the NFL in 2020.
Coombs was nailing everything. He was well liked by his players, he was already being labeled as a “future head coach” by media for his conduct and professionalism in front of a podium, and, most importantly, the Lions special teams units were killing it.
Then it all came crashing down in one moment. With Bevell as interim head coach, Coombs reportedly went rogue and called an unauthorized fake punt that subsequently failed. After sleeping on it for 24 hours, Bevell decided firing him immediately was the best option, and Lions ownership agreed.
Who was the Detroit Lions’ coach of the year in 2020?
This poll is closed
OC/interim head coach Darrell Bevell
OL coach Hank Fraley
ST coordinator Brayden Coombs