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Notes: Which Detroit Lions coach could still suit up and play?

All are fair guesses, even if they played as recently as 2018.

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NFL: Detroit Lions at Arizona Cardinals Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

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?”

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.

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:

  • Johnson got “high marks in his trial run as offensive coordinator” according to The Athletic’s Chris Burke (subscription required).

  • The Lions coaches had a lot of fun with the Senior Bowl players this week. Here’s another cool tidbit from Thursday: