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Dan Campbell explains why Detroit Lions lost 3 coaches this offseason

Campbell revealed that all three of the Lions coaching losses were related to family. And he gave the replacements a big vote of confidence.

NFL: Combine Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Detroit Lions are clearly a team that is on the rise. It’s an exciting time to be a part of the organization after a 9-8 season that saw the Lions win eight of their last 10 games.

So it was a little surprising to see the Lions coaching staff lose three people this offseason, especially when two of them took lateral moves elsewhere. We have since learned that former Lions assistant head coach/running backs coach Duce Staley wanted to be closer to home and his mother. But it remained a mystery why defensive line coach Todd Wash joined him, and offensive assistant John Morton took a job with the Broncos (although Morton appeared to get a promotion to pass game coordinator).

Lions coach Dan Campbell provided a little clarity on the three during his press conference at the NFL Combine.

“We’re going to miss Duce Staley. We’re gonna miss Todd Wash. We’re going to miss John Morton. But all three of those guys, really, it was for family,” Campbell said. “I know that’s the right thing to do.”

The Lions have mostly filled those three vacancies. Scottie Montgomery has taken over Staley’s roles, the Lions are hiring John Scott Jr. to coach the defensive line (Campbell confirmed they’ve agreed to terms, but the paperwork hasn’t been signed), and while the Lions don’t have a senior offensive assistant to replace Morton, the hiring of tight ends coach Steve Heiden has allowed Tanner Engstrand to be the team’s pass game coordinator.

Interestingly enough, Campbell noted that Montgomery interviewed for the offensive coordinator position last year.

“I was impressed,” Campbell said. “That’s why these interviews—they may not work out at the time, but everything happens for a reason. So to be able to acquire him as our running backs coach/assistant head coach from the Colts was big.”

Campbell said the Lions looked at this opportunity to do right by the coaches who had a desire to be closer to family and improve upon their staff with the many capable coaches out there.

“I want to know they’re all here, and when even a piece of them is not quite here, I don’t think that’s fair to them or us,” Campbell said. “And the other thing about it is, I believe there are good coaches out there. You can find them. Now, you gotta work, and you may have to turn over some rocks and go through a certain type of process, but you can find good coaches, and I believe that, and I believe we’ve done that.”

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