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Lions fire three assistant coaches

A 4-12 record wasn’t enough to get Lions coach Jim Schwartz fired, but it did cost three members of his staff.

According to Anwar Richardson of, the Lions have fired wide receivers coach Shawn Jefferson, running backs coach Sam Gash and tight ends coach Tim Lappano.

While it’s easy to wonder what Jefferson did, considering one of his players, Calvin Johnson, set the league’s all-time single-season receiving yardage record, there were issues.

Jefferson and offensive coordinator Scott Linehan had a sideline exchange over play-calling during a loss to the Packers, arguing over Johnson’s usage in the red zone.

And considering Schwartz just gave Linehan a glowing recommendation, it was easy to see whose side he took.

UPDATE 5:47 p.m. ET: Richardson has updated his previous report to say that Lappano was not fired, but Jefferson and Gash were still, in fact, fired. They have also fired offensive line coach George Yarno, so they’re still down three.

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35 Responses to “Lions fire three assistant coaches”
  1. noeffinway says: Dec 31, 2012 5:17 PM

    And more likely because Jefferson is just not that good of a rcvr’s coach. CJ was going to be great without him. What did Jefferson ever do with any other rcvr the Lions had??? nothing

  2. legeisyaj says: Dec 31, 2012 5:21 PM

    I really dislike schwartz. He has to be about the worst coach and boss possible. Accountability should start with him. He is just so full of crap. I don’t believe the lions (a proud franchise with a great fan base) will go anywhere until his type of leadership is history.

  3. teal379 says: Dec 31, 2012 5:21 PM

    If Detroit’s under performing anywhere – it’s on the defensive side.

    WAY too much talent on that D line for the production they’ve executed. They shouldn’t need killer CB’s with the talent they have to get to the QB.

    I can understand the TE coach being gone, they’ve been disappointing for sure.

    RB – dunno, lots of injury there with one guy STILL having concussion problems. Unless the RB coach designs faulty protection gear, don’t know about that decision.

  4. realfootballfan says: Dec 31, 2012 5:23 PM

    I’m sure this will fix everything when your head coach has been overseeing undisciplined units (in TN) and now an undisciplined whole team for years.

  5. johnnycash19 says: Dec 31, 2012 5:23 PM

    Outside of Calvin what WR made an impact in a good way?

    Burleson before he was injured?
    Broyles before he tore his knee (He started to get in a rhythm before he got injured)? Titus Young (lol).

    Durham never looked up to speed, Mike Thomas never saw the field, nor did Brian Robiskie.

    Plus the Lions led the league in dropped passes.

  6. horsecore says: Dec 31, 2012 5:24 PM

    LOL. Yep, that’ll fix their issues.

  7. hadjiali says: Dec 31, 2012 5:26 PM

    Typical Lions half-measure. I live halfway between Detroit and Green Bay and I’m tired of hearing it from Packer fans. So maybe I’ll just become one of them until Schwartz and Linehan are gone.

    You could say I’m a fair weather fan, if you can identify the fair weather in Lions-land since Barry retired. One 10-6 season doesn’t cut it.

  8. sgmjerry220 says: Dec 31, 2012 5:28 PM

    Yeah put all the blame on position coaches, especially on the offensive side; last I checked you gave up 100+ points more than you scored? Another example of the Lions being so much smarter than everyone else!!!

    Sent from my iPhone

  9. elwaysmilehighdenver says: Dec 31, 2012 5:28 PM

    Still hoping that Bill Ford calls Schwartz in behind closed doors and says your services are no longer wanted in Detroit.
    Fish rot from the head down. Any fan of the NFL knows that there is a stench coming out of Detroit! Do it Mr. Ford.

  10. FinFan68 says: Dec 31, 2012 5:29 PM

    They should have just written off the $ and gotten rid of Schwartz. He is not a leader, has no discipline, and avoids accountability. That is how some of his players behave as well. The Lions need a strong leader and disciplinarian. Until they get that guy, they are wasting the talent they have.

  11. ilovefoolsball says: Dec 31, 2012 5:33 PM

    Did Schwartz shake their hands before showing them the door? If so did he pat them on the back?

  12. seanje says: Dec 31, 2012 5:35 PM

    “No surprise Shawn Jefferson won’t be back with the Lions. Contract was up, had been wanting to move on for a while.”

    – Dave Birkett (Lions beat writer, freep)

    If Jefferson indeed did leave on his own accord (abandoning sinking ship, or what have you, for you Lions haters here), he definitely won’t like how the media is reporting it.

    P.S. Lions team reporter denying report saying TE coach Tim Lappano was not retained.

  13. hatesycophants says: Dec 31, 2012 5:39 PM

    Goodbye, fair weather fan!

  14. theboondoggles says: Dec 31, 2012 5:40 PM

    Jefferson and Linehan were arguing about Titus Young, not Megatron. That was the drive when Young decided to line up where he wanted to rather than what the play called for.

    So… Linehan is safe and the QB coach is safe? Give Stafford’s regression and poor mechanics throughout the season, you’d think those would be the first heads on the chopping block.

  15. mazblast says: Dec 31, 2012 5:44 PM

    “a proud franchise with a great fan base”

    I can buy into the latter, but since the 1950s, what has the franchise had about which to be proud? Even when they’ve temporarily been an almost-contender, you always had the feeling it wouldn’t last long.

    That’s like the Bagels (the local team, but never my team) when they talk about their “great tradition” and “outstanding achievement”.

  16. nfldtw says: Dec 31, 2012 5:46 PM

    Once again the ineptitude of Lions management shows. We have a top 5 passing offense and you fire the WR coach. Jefferson will be a legit WR coach somewhere else just watch.

    Why not fire the special teams coach?? Bottom 5 in the NFL. Lions pointing in the downward direction… again… sigh…

  17. fakefranknunley says: Dec 31, 2012 5:55 PM

    Wait,what? Gym Shorts keeps his job?

  18. conner87 says: Dec 31, 2012 5:56 PM

    The offense is not the problem, the defense is horrid, outside of delmas and houston 10 year olds could tear that secondary apart.

  19. haroldkahoney says: Dec 31, 2012 5:57 PM

    and with those changes, that 4-12 Lions teams becomes a 4-12 team……..who’s in charge there, and what are they thinking?

  20. lionsfan2014 says: Dec 31, 2012 5:58 PM

    How had the special teams coach not been fired yet? He should’ve been gone during the bye week

  21. Soulman45 says: Dec 31, 2012 5:59 PM

    THE GREAT DETROIT LIONS go from 10-6 t0 a 4 win season somebody have to be the fall guy, that what we have in Lion Land.

  22. lionsfan2014 says: Dec 31, 2012 6:29 PM

    Lovie in, Gunther out?

  23. lks311 says: Dec 31, 2012 6:33 PM

    Outside of Calvin what WR made an impact in a good way?

    Burleson before he was injured?
    Broyles before he tore his knee (He started to get in a rhythm before he got injured)? Titus Young (lol).

    Durham never looked up to speed, Mike Thomas never saw the field, nor did Brian Robiskie.

    Plus the Lions led the league in dropped passes.
    Anyone that’s ever played competitive football knows you can teach guys to run better routes, block better, even anticipate the ball coming out of the QBs hands and where. BUT, either you can catch or you can’t. It’s not teachable at this level. If it was, they’d be using it with all these DBs with sorry hands.

    BTW, both Durham and Robiskie caught TDs yesterday. If you’re going to rant, at least check the box scores.

  24. funktron2x says: Dec 31, 2012 6:34 PM

    I can’t believe this “Stafford’s mechanics” thing still has legs. It’s ridiculous and wrong.

  25. iamthot says: Dec 31, 2012 6:43 PM

    Pathetic! You go 4-12 and position coaches are the first to go. Schwartz said today that Stafford had excellent mechanics, he should’ve been fired off that statement alone.

  26. sonoco says: Dec 31, 2012 7:02 PM

    Dear Lions, please keep Scott Linehan. You will go nowhere as long as the most overrated coordinator in the NFL is in charge of the offense . . . and I don’t mind.

  27. tufflynx says: Dec 31, 2012 7:05 PM

    Wow, I don’t even know where to start to correct this report.

    First, the sideline exchange between Jefferson and Linehan in the Packers game was not about red zone usage of Calvin Johnson at all. It was because Jefferson wanted Linehan to bench Titus Young for purposely lining up in the wrong position. Young was unhappy that he was not getting the ball enough and was taking the WR1 spot on every formation. Then he started moving around other players in the formations too.

    The second error is that Tim Lappano has not been fired.

  28. dlions18 says: Dec 31, 2012 7:16 PM

    How is it that a bunch of random people on a random website know how to run an organization better than the people actually in charge? Its tough being a Lions fan.

    Bring in Cowher

  29. bayoor75 says: Dec 31, 2012 8:22 PM

    Schwartz is an idiot who will get fired next offseason after the Lions go 5-11 again. I understand firing the RB coach, but the TE and WR coaches? Doesn’t make sense. Except for the occasional fumbles by the TEs, those units played well overall. The problem is the defense…and for that reason, Schwartz should be fired. Defense is “supposed” to be his “specialty”. Just when you think the Lions can’t do anything dumber, they lay the blame on the wrong people.

  30. therealwags says: Dec 31, 2012 8:52 PM

    Is it still considered ‘fired’ if their contracts were expiring anyway?

  31. joerymi says: Jan 1, 2013 1:49 AM

    The most exciting time to be a Lions fan is April. We are able to delude ourselves into thinking the organization has a clue.

    Schwartz deserves another year, but it is inconceivable that the most disappointing team of 2012 makes small personnel decision and expects different results.

  32. weaselpuppy says: Jan 1, 2013 3:31 AM

    Until Bill Ford Jr tells his very nice old man that HE is taking the team away from him, and then shows some LEADERSHIP (all caps because no one in the Lions org has seen this word in 53 years) and cleans house top to bottom, Lewand to Mayhew to Schwartzie to KVB to Logan….things won’t get right there.

    It’s a culture of losing. Plain and simple. The people in charge can’t recognize winners and that happens every step down the ladder. Bill Ford Jr can break that mold. Until then, they will cast about aimlessly, as they have since before JFK was killed.

    And how the hell is the St coach Crossman still working there…seriously? 4 retrn TDs against in 6 quarters and his own return guy has more fumbles than 100 yd return games in 3 seasons….and he gets the whole year from Jimmy? Sorry Schwatzie, you’re a terrible leader, a TERRIBLE game day coach, a poor motivator and a bad manger of your assistants ( Linehan’s playcalling was excruciating, Gunther was nearly as bad…) Jimbo literally brought less than nothing to the table this year.

    Boooo….from a 40+ yr lion fan that has spent a decade modding a HUGE Lions fan forum….Booo up and down the organization for 2012, from Montgomery Burns Sr all the way down to the doofus that sings the Lions TD song….

  33. TIB says: Jan 1, 2013 4:41 AM

    Scott should be fired- Jeff and Gash are the least of the coaching worries- this team is trying hard to loose a life-lonf and— fire linnihan and crossman!

  34. longdistancelionfan says: Jan 2, 2013 7:48 PM

    Sorry to say, history has shown that the Ford family has shown little if any motivation to produce a winner. Never tried to build a team when they had the best RB in history, now they have a decent offense,but no defensive minds to coach the team. The Fords are content with their NFL profit sharing, and nothing else. Sad because they do have several good players in place, but have undisciplined management. NHL is looking better all the time.

  35. rockbottom37 says: Jan 3, 2013 4:23 PM

    They went from laughing stock of league 0 wins to 2, 6 , 10 since he took over yes they regressed but clearly the problem was lack of DEF playmakers not coaching…Schwartz clearly deserves another year whether you like him or not. Firing him this yr would be dumb.

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