To fill the team’s tight ends coach vacancy—left by the promotion of Ben Johnson to offensive coordinator—the Lions are promoting offensive quality control coach Tanner Engstrand. Additionally, the Lions are shifting outside linebackers coach Kelvin Sheppard to inside linebackers coach, replacing Mark DeLeone, who split with the team earlier this year for unknown reasons.
Engstrand taking over as tight ends coach comes as no surprise. When the Lions gave Johnson an unofficial promotion to passing game coordinator midway through the 2021 season, it was Engstrand who took over the tight end room, according to T.J. Hockenson.
“We had Ben at the beginning of the year, and then halfway through we had Tanner, because Ben got moved up to passing game coordinator,” Hockenson said at the end of the season.
Engstrand is a former college quarterback who has had coaching stops at the University of Michigan (offensive assistant) and the XFL’s DC Defenders (offensive coordinator).
As for Sheppard, he is a former inside linebacker himself—including a one-year stint with the Lions— and should know the position well. He joined the Lions as a coach last year after serving as LSU’s director of player development for a year.
Campbell announced that to replace Sheppard’s spot at outside linebacker coach, the Lions will rely more on defensive line coach Todd Wash and current director of football research David Corrao, who was spotted coaching up some of the linebackers during the Senior Bowl last month. The reasoning for that change? The Lions will apparently rely on more four-man fronts going forward.
Dan Campbell said the Lions will still operate with a lot of odd-front principles, but with more even fronts mixed in. Also said 1 more coaching addition is expected.— kyle meinke (@kmeinke) March 1, 2022
"I still have one move to make that I think is going to happen, but I don’t want to say anything about it yet”
Carrao had previously served as the Miami Dolphins’ assistant linebackers coach when his career overlapped with Dan Campbell, and he filled a similar role for the Lions under Matt Patricia
“As Detroit’s director of football research, Corrao has a diverse, behind-the-scenes role,” Justin Rogers said in a piece for the Detroit News, “Which included hand-on coaching opportunities with the team’s outside linebackers and defensive ends throughout last season.”
Campbell also announced that the team is still expected to add one more coach, but they are not ready to announce it yet.