The Detroit Lions are known for having many former players on their coaching staff. The personal experience each coach brings to the practice field is regarded as a major asset by the Lions’ own players, especially when it comes to communication and teaching. On the last day before the Senior Bowl, the Lions media team did one of their hilarious bits with a camera and a question for the American squad players filing out onto the practice field: “Which Lions coach could still suit up and play?”
Who ya got?@seniorbowl pic.twitter.com/oHXUBSjtKg— Detroit Lions (@Lions) February 4, 2022
As a reminder, former running back Duce Staley was designated to be the head coach of the Lions-coached American team. Defensive backs coach Aubrey Pleasant, who was a starter at safety at the University of Wisconsin, was chosen to be defensive coordinator. A former quarterback at UNC, tight end coach Ben Johnson was picked to lead the offense for the staff at the Senior Bowl. Naturally, the other position coaches were also on hand for a week of teaching in Mobile.
So who did the players pick out as the coach most likely to capable of taking part in on-field action? “Coach Aubrey” got a mention, as did “Coach Duce,” “Coach El,” and even Dan Campbell. Clearly there was some position-specific bias as punter Jake Camarda immediately responded with the recently-retired Muhldozer, but defensive lineman John Ridgeway agreed with Camarda.
However, the most frequently named coach was outside linebackers coach Kelvin Sheppard. The support for “Coach Shepp” cut across all levels of the defense, garnering endorsements from several defensive linemen and defensive backs. Moreover, there was one other pick of Coach Shepp at the very end of the video by a pretty keen-eyed evaluator of on-the-field talent in the Lions organization, so the Senior Bowl players may be on to something.
I'll say this: I came away even more impressed with the Lions coaching staff this week.— Jeremy Reisman (@DetroitOnLion) February 4, 2022
They were much looser with the media this week, and you can really tell how they're able to relate and effectively coach players.
Kelvin Sheppard was a superstar this week, IMO.
The best answer, though? That goes to interior offensive lineman Luke Fortner. A really smart dude with a master’s degree in mechanical engineering who is on track to add an MBA in a few months, the Kentucky senior team captain gave the diplomatically brilliant answer: “I’m not touching that one.” My man is ready for the Detroit media.
Now, on to the rest of today’s Notes:
- MLive’s Dungeon of Doom podcast with Ben Raven and Kyle Meinke talked about the week of Senior Bowl practice, Lions coach Ben Johnson, and more.
- Johnson got “high marks in his trial run as offensive coordinator” according to The Athletic’s Chris Burke (subscription required).
- Special teams coach Dave Fipp was the featured guest on this week’s episode of One Pridecast from the team’s official media accounts.
- Prior to being stranded in Charlotte, our very own fearless leader Jeremy Reisman was a guest on X’s and BrO’s with Anthony Bellino on Friday morning. You can listen to the entire segment on iHeart’s podcast site.
Coming up on X's and Br0's w/@ACBellino— X's & BrO's (@XBMornings) February 4, 2022
-The Stafford HOF debate
-NHL All Star Weekend
CALL THE @meijer Guest Line
TEXT SPORTSRADIO to 21000
WATCH: NO TV TODAY DUE TO TECHNICAL DIFFICULTIES
LISTEN https://t.co/SbtvCv3ODJ pic.twitter.com/gUxrNi1XoE
- Justin Rogers at the Detroit News wrote about three current Lions players: Julian Okwara, Trinity Benson, and Tracy Walker.
- Ben Raven at MLive identified five cornerbacks in the upcoming draft that Lions fans should familiarize themselves with.
- It’s a non-story that is completely made up and not true at all, but in case you see some ridiculousness floating about having to do with former Bears head coach Matt Nagy:
The progression of this rumor went...— Jeremy Reisman (@DetroitOnLion) February 4, 2022
- One website wrote a "hey, how about Matt Nagy?" article
- Bears website turns that into "Lions fans want Matt Nagy"
- That gets turned into "Lions want Matt Nagy" by ??? (twitter?)
- Wannstedt recklessly says it happened on the radio
- Lions Wire’s Jeff Risdon thought there were 12 players who “stood out as potential Lions draft picks during the week of practices.”
- Tim Twentyman at the official team site also offered up his own thoughts on the last day of Senior Bowl practice.
- The Lions coaches had a lot of fun with the Senior Bowl players this week. Here’s another cool tidbit from Thursday:
Detroit’s squad ended practice with an accuracy competition between Malik Willis, Sam Howell and Bailey Zappe.— Anthony Treash (@PFF_Anthony) February 3, 2022
Willis got the closest to drilling the 30+ yd trash can shot pic.twitter.com/IrCUbqOjDW
Now they're trying to drop it in a bucket in the corner of the end zone from the 20-yard line.— Jeremy Reisman (@DetroitOnLion) February 3, 2022
Willis: 0/3 (but hit the rim twice)