The Senior Bowl is an excellent opportunity for the coaching team to get an in-depth look at some key players in the draft class. By coaching up a team of draft prospects for an entire week, the coaching staff will have an opportunity to see how these players respond to their style of teaching, learn their practice habits, and get to know them on a personal level that isn’t possible from the sidelines or via their scouting team.
This year, the Detroit Lions and New York Jets get that honor. But a new Senior Bowl rule will give both teams a new benefit. Starting this year, the head coach of each team will act as more of an advisor, giving the rest of the coaching staff an opportunity to take on bigger roles.
Here’s how it works, per the Senior Bowl’s official website:
For the first time in the game’s rich history, head coaches will serve in more an advisory capacity while promoting select assistants into leadership roles on the staff (e.g. running backs coach to head coach, secondary coach to defensive coordinator, etc.). This new change will offer position coaches and coordinators developmental opportunities in a setting that showcases their skills in front of peers from all 32 clubs.
For the Lions, this feels like a perfect opportunity. Many of the coaches on the staff are already up-and-comers, who are feeling out new roles. Now the Lions will get the opportunity to assess how they do in new opportunities. Could Ben Johnson get a tryout as the team’s offensive coordinator? Maybe Detroit will try to play around and groom a new defensive coordinator in case Aaron Glenn leaves.
The Lions appear just as committed to developing their coaching staff as they do their players, so next week’s Senior Bowl is a big opportunity for them.
Today’s Question of the Day is:
Who should be the Lions’ acting head coach during the Senior Bowl?
My answer: It seems like the obvious answer is between two people: running backs coach/assistant head coach Duce Staley and defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn.
The Lions have been grooming Staley for a head coaching opportunity for all of Year 1, and this could be his chance to actually do it for an entire week. That’s a unique opportunity you won’t get during the rest of the year, and if the Lions are truly committed to grooming him for a head coaching job one day, this would be perfect.
But right now Glenn is the hotter name to land a head coaching job. Giving him the full week of practice makes sense and could be the thing that turns these once-a-year interviews he’s getting into a solid resume builder. It would also allow the Lions to prepare for Glenn’s eventual departure by giving someone else the temporary defensive coordinator title—perhaps to defensive backs coach Aubrey Pleasant or defensive line coach Todd Wash, who already has defensive coordinator experience.
Both make a lot of sense, but I would probably lean towards giving Glenn the nod.