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Notes: 4 Lions make list of top NFL head coach candidates for 2023

The talented Lions staff is getting some national recognition.

Cincinnati Bengals v Detroit Lions Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images

In what is hopefully more of an analysis of talent over popularity from “Hard Knocks” appearances, four Detroit Lions coaches have made a list of top head coaching candidates in 2023.

Sports Illustrated’s Conor Orr created a comprehensive list that includes 15 offensive coordinators, 16 defensive coordinators, two special teams coordinators, 16 offensive assistants, eight defensive assistants, eight college coaches, and one Josh McCown.

As a preface, he explains in detail how he think the head coach hiring system is faulty, but notes the list he’s created both recognizes coaches he knows will get interviews and coaches he thinks should get an interview. He’s used information from conversations with current and former coaches, agents, and other relevant people in the football world. It features coaches who are currently ready to be head coaches and those who may be coordinators in 2023.

Though the list is in no particular order, the first to appear is offensive coordinator Ben Johnson.

“Any time you hear the m-word—“McVay,” that is—thrown around in a conversation about coaches, your ears perk up. Johnson, who is not from the McVay coaching tree but is viewed as an up-and-coming young offensive mind, has carved out a niche as a future offensive trendsetter all on his own,” Orr writes.

Two names later is defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn. Orr notes the former star defensive back is widely respected throughout the NFL.

“Detroit’s attacking mentality is popular with players and Glenn would have no problem recruiting in his next locale. He is relentless on the practice field in a way that can naturally foster the competitiveness that teams often struggle to grow organically,” he said.

Next up — assistant head coach/running backs coach Duce Staley.

“Staley, a nine-year NFL running back, spent a large portion of his career coaching and playing under the Andy Reid tree in Philadelphia. Now the assistant head coach of the Lions, Staley has interviewed for head coaching jobs each of the last two seasons.”

Finally, offensive line coach Hank Fraley.

“Fraley is manning one of the most potentially talented position groups in the NFL. So far, with the Lions third in the NFL in EPA on rush plays and Jared Goff being one of the least-sacked quarterbacks in the NFL (4 sacks—for perspective, Carson Wentz and Joe Burrow have already been sacked 15 times apiece), Fraley could be another offensive line coach we talk about transcending the pipeline.”

One thing is for certain — if the Lions manage to turn this losing franchise around and create something truly special, everyone’s going to want a piece of Dan Campbell’s squad.

And onto the rest of your notes.

  • Analyst Brandon Thorn takes a deep look at Penei Sewell, examining plays that “ showcase his special combination of size, athletic ability and rapidly improving technique.” ($)

  • While you’re at it, check out Baldy’s Breakdown on Sewell.

  • FOX 2’s Dan Miller sits down with Jeff Okudah to talk about his recovery and how he thinks he’s doing so far this season.

  • NFL players with diverse backgrounds can rep their country for the next two weeks

  • New week, new me.

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