Lions think their coaching vacancy is the NFL’s best opportunity

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Shortly after firing coach Jim Schwartz, Lions President Tom Lewand said he believes his team will have its pick of multiple good coaches who want to come to Detroit.

“I think this will be one of the most if not the single most attractive coaching opportunities in the National Football League,” Lewand said. “That starts with our ownership. I think it also continues with the talented people we have in this organization.”

Every team thinks it’s a great destination for a great coach, but in the Lions’ case, they may be right. After all, the Lions’ recent first-round draft picks include superstar wide receiver Calvin Johnson, a talented quarterback in Matthew Stafford, a starting left tackle in Riley Reiff and three good defensive linemen in Ndamukong Suh, Nick Fairley and Ziggy Ansah. Those are pieces that a good coach can build a winning team around.

Lewand also hinted that coaches or their representatives are already contacting the Lions to express their interest, citing a “number of calls we have already gotten” in the hours after Schwartz was fired.

Still, all the talent in the world doesn’t make Detroit a great destination for a coach if that talent can’t be assembled into a team that plays disciplined football on the field and does the right things off the field. Lewand acknowledged that results are what matter, and results are why Schwartz was fired.

“We did not win the division title. We did not win enough games,” Lewand said.

Now the Lions have to find a coach who will win enough games. They haven’t had a coach who could win consistently in a long time.

104 responses to “Lions think their coaching vacancy is the NFL’s best opportunity

  1. What coach wouldn’t want a job with a hands off owner and financial job&lifetime security? All you have to do is win a playoff team and they may construct a statue of you in front of Ford Fieldf

  2. I agree, I’d love to have this job, and I’ll take less pay than anybody else if they want to give me an interview. Nobody wants to be the HC or the GM of the Lions more than me, and I can prove it!

    Plus I’m the best person for either job (assuming they are only looking at coaches who couldn’t coach to save their life). Still waiting for my chance! Maybe after the next group of managers and coaches fails they will finally be willing to hear my suggestions? 🙂

  3. That’s cute. Anyways, Washington has everything. Money, talent, power, relevance, history. You’d be a fool to not jump at that historic position of HC of the Redskins if you are a coach in this country aspiring to be an NFL legendary coach like Gibbs, Allen, Lombardi, etc. #HTTR

  4. I would say it probably is. There isn’t a strong competition but this why its the best coaching opportunity.

    1. The Ford family is patient to a fault. They will not fire a new coach until he’s done everything possible to get fired.

    2. Matthew Stafford IS a franchise QB. He’s proven it before but he’s also proven to be wildly inconsistent at time. There is no QB carousel in Detroit.

    3. They have a lot of young talent. A strong front 7 and solid OL. A good RB tandem when they don’t fumble and the best WR in the NFL.

    The point is that this isn’t a rebuild. The Lions ARE ready to compete. I hope for the rest of Lions nation they don’t disappoint again.

    New day. Lets get it done Lewand and Mayhew.

  5. With all the talk of Lovie Smith going to Tampa or Houston, this seems like the destination that would be the best fit for him, pretty safe to say he wouldn’t be bringing Marinelli with him as his DC though

  6. Welcome to Detroit!!!!

    By the way … we’re sort of bankrupt. We can pay you in Outback gift certificates … until 2023.

  7. I think it is desirable, but the culture there is losing. They need to do some work. With the injuries to the Packers and Bears this year there is NO reason they shouldn’t have run away with the North.

    I look forward to some good competitive football for many years in the division.

  8. As a die hard Packer fan, this is something that concerns me. The talent level in Detroit is much higher than you usually see where there is a coaching vacancy. In the list of great player/assets in the article they didn’t even mention Reggie Bush. With a coach like Gruden, or even Lovie Smith, they could give us Packer fans fits for many years.


    Very talented group on both sides… that needs skilled focus and firm leadership.

    A good HC can look brilliant in a very short period of time.

    First thing I’d do is fix Stafford or start moving toward his replacement
    Second is strengthen secondary
    Third is beef up the running game even more

  10. While I’m inclined to agree that the Lions are the closest thing to a “win now” team, they better find a disciplinarian for a new head coach. The division is still winnable considering Jay Cutler’s fate in Chicago is very much up in the air and the Packers have their faults as well. Detroit just needs a guy who won’t take any nonsense from Suh or Delmas.

  11. Not really.

    Whoever gets the gig has to look at the fat-face Matt Stafford for the next five years.

  12. I love how people point out crime as a reason a coach might not take a job in a certain city.

    Yes, because that’s what head coaches do- walk around run down urban areas at night alone.

  13. Until Matt Stafford becomes a difference-making NFL QB instead of merely a fantasy football stat monger, Detroit will continue it’s losing ways.

    Poor mecahnics, poor decision-making and an apparent indifference to cleaning them up….yeah, I would want that kind of a coach killer as my starting QB. No thanks….I’ll pass.

  14. Hard to argue with that statement, every team in that division seems like a shell. That already infamous Packers-Bears play where Aaron Rodgers was the only player out of the entire Packers offense and Bears defense to realize the ball was still live — and then after what seemed like 30 seconds of staring at the ref — shows you could probably outcoach the entire division if you have an IQ above 90 and sleep less than 14 hours a day.

  15. You’re crazy if you think Detroit ISN’T a good spot for a coach to go. People talking about the crime, and the city being bankrupt. Well, guess what? The players, the coaches and the bulk of the fans don’t live in Detroit. They live in the wealthier suburbs. And the CITY of Detroit is bankrupt. The Ford family, however, if FAR from bankrupt, and have a reputation in the sports world of being generous and patient, often too patient.

    There are only two things that would keep a coach from wanting to come here: the winter weather and the general manager. Mayhew butted heads with Schwartz, and I think that lead to Schwartz ultimately getting the boot. And winters suck here. But they also suck in New York, Washington, Minnesota, Chicago, Cincinnati, Cleveland…..and Detroit plays indoors at home, so it’s really not as much of an issue as one would think.

  16. A city and ownership that has low expectations make this the best job in the NFL. However, this team will be going no where no matter the coach. Stafford on offense and Suh on defense have no idea how to win.

  17. Attention Dummies- No one who coaches the Lions lives in Detroit. They live in VERY nice suburbs outside the city… like every other football team. Lazy zings.

  18. People, give it up on slamming the city of Detroit.
    Detroit does have problems and is currently in bankruptcy but be careful what you are laughing at, your city might be next. Its easy to kick a city when its down, but its easier to be compassionate and try to be an asset and help out.

  19. Lewand is delusional. If every potential candidate want to get hired there, who exactly do they have in mind?? There are no viable candidates this year. What are you going to do Lewand? Hire some no-name from the college ranks? Seriously. Slim pickens this year. Its obvious!

  20. They need a mature, experienced leader these immature undisciplined players will respect. Also, one who can develop Stafford. I’d take Whisenhunt. Oh, and to the funny guy touting the Washington job – I have two strong words why that job would suck: Daniel Snyder!

  21. Andy Reid would have been a good match for this team. He’s excellent with QBs, and he would have been good for Stafford.

  22. I would have to agree…..Detroit is a really good opportunity for a coach to step into.

    All the stuff about the city, and crime is just noise…’s about winning and many of the pieces are in place with the lions for that to occur.

  23. i’m a vikings fan.

    it’s definitely one of the better openings – right now.

    they have some glaring cap issues, due to the large number of high draft picks and their increasing salaries.

    the window will be closing sooner than later. calvin johnson isn’t getting any younger.

    the same comparison can be made to minnesota this year, and chicago last year. not many years of AD before he’s done. similarly how many more years of productivity are the bears going to get out of hester and forte?

    schwartz really didn’t make the most of the opportunity he had.

  24. I guess it depends whether a coach wants a loose cannon owner and stability in the locker room or vice versa.

  25. While the team isn’t stacked with talent, it does have depth or stability on both the offensive and defensive lines and at the RB position, in addition to having an elite WR and a QB with some upside, making this version of the Detroit Lions possibly the most attractive it has been in decades. The next regime will have a healthy foundation to build upon and task number one will be convincing Matt Stafford that he needs to learn the mental side of the QB position. If Stafford had been given a football smarts transfusion by the Schwartz staff, they probably wouldn’t be unemployed right now.

  26. The Lions were 0-16 the year before Swartz got to Detroit. He completely changed the culture. Can’t see many high profile coaches looking at franchise that is known for losing.

  27. They also thought keeping jimmy last year was a great idea too. Baby steps people. Our team needs more than just a coach. The players have to be coach able. Some comments from them make me wonder.

  28. I would hate to see Mike Zimmer go, but he’d be a good fit for the Lions. He can bring discipline to the team, and being a defensive guru he can take the players they have an make a dynasty.

  29. Actually Minnesota is the most desirable, the expectations are so low that if you win 6 games, they will throw a parade in your honor.

    The only challenge is that you have to do it without a NFL quality QB and with Spielman picking again this spring, it will remain that way for awhile.

  30. Detroit would have to be considered the top HC vacancy out there. Has a HC you need to win and be successful to keep your job. Lions had a team that could win the division this year but the current staff didn’t resolve the teams core problems which were poor decisions play calling and team discipline. The weather isn’t going to defer a coach from city nor will the cities financial outlook. Green Bay if had a opening would be #1 and the weather is miserable with nothing around. I’m sure the HC wouldn’t be residing in the downtown area but in a cleaner suburban area. There is talent on both sides of the line. Stafford has that 2011 ability in him somewhere and with Megatron he will be ok. The running game has finally arrived in Detroit since Barry’s departure and will be good again next year. Secondary concerns and a kicker are the two biggest concerns right now. Considering the need for draft I don’t think #10 is a good spot for there needs. W/o looking into free agency and resignings as the Lions I would consider traded back if they could acquire that teams later 1st round pick and a 4th round pick. There are talented back up corners around the league now who will be looking for a potential starting gig and there isn’t that stud safety out there. Cut the ties with Pettigrew and draft a Eric Ebron is he falls that far. Bill O’ Brien would be a great coach for Stafford and this offense but considering the buyout of at PSU and what the Lions have to pay Swatrhz it’s not worth it considering he may not be able to control from a discipline area. Shaw from Stanford would be the best candidate for the job. Knows offense and QBs and with how Stanford plays there is discipline. This is a great situation for an incoming coach and I think the lions could have their pick of the litter.

  31. While I like Schwartz, I see him as the Lions version of Rick Carlisle. The talent is there but he could only take them so far. Now, we just need a coach to get them over that hump. Who out there could be the NFL version of Larry Brown?

  32. Josh McDaniels is slobbering for this job. Look at all the star players he could trade(ala Denver when he took over). It might take him two years to gut this team. And, he could bring Tebow and Orton in to replace Stafford.

  33. lol @ so many of you inbred morons talking as if the Detroit Lions finacally are connected to DETROIT the CITY, its not. Mr Ford is actually pretty might have heard his name around somewhere…..

    on a side not, none of these players live in downtown DETROIT they ALL live out in Oakland County, which is ranked top 10 Richest counties in the country with a population over a million.

    its funny to see people who believe the entire state of Michigan ( population 11million ) all live like the 600,000 citizens in Detroit.


  34. What does location have to do with it? No one in the lions organization live in Detroit. They all live in the nicer cities such as novi and northville. Lions have lots of talent plus a top 10 pick, perfect place for a coach to turn a team around

  35. This team needs Tom Coughlin. A strict disciplinarian who can turn stupid raw talent into focused superstars. In spite of his lousy last couple of years in NY the man has cred.

  36. “Still, all the talent in the world doesn’t make Detroit a great destination for a coach if that talent can’t be assembled into a team that plays disciplined football on the field and does the right things off the field.”

    It’s a GREAT destination for a GREAT coach, NOT for a new coach.

  37. I laughed so hard I vomitted at your headline! besides the obvious undisciplined, mistake prone, accountability-less players, they also play with NO HEART or PRIDE, and that won’t change overnight. Those players do not understand the simple principle of, “You play to win the game”! They folded last year, losing 10 in-a-row and they folded this year going 2-6 the second half. And when they had a chance to be men, and win one last game for their coach, they quit. Good luck finding a respectable, winning coach or a hotshot new-comer to go there. I hear Mike Shannan is available though?

  38. 2nd best opportunity behind Houston. But they need to hire an established HC with NFL experience. Crazy suh won’t listen to a college type rah rah guy. If Cowher is going to coach again, this wld b a good spot.

  39. As a Viking fan it feels good we still have one team we can laugh at. Whatever coach feels Detroit is the best situation for he and his family needs to have his urine tested.

    Thanks for the headline, I needed some comic relief today.

  40. While I don’t disagree that Detroit might be a fairly attractive destination for a coach… I truly believe that Houston is the best vacancy right now.

    – They had 5 probowlers this year on a 2 win team. (Not to mention the perennial probowlers that didn’t make it due to injury like Cushing and Foster)

    -An outstanding defense (They actually had a better year this year with 2 wins than they did last year with 12)

    -The best defensive player in the game (If the Texans weren’t such a train wreck he’d be winning his second straight DPOY this year)

    -All star talent at skill positions (Andre Johnson, Arian Foster, Owen Daniels, DeAndre Hopkins)

    -The #1 overall pick to select your own franchise QB, or once in a generation talent like Clowney, or trade back and load up over the next few years

    -Weak division (Luck is good… he’s no Aaron Rodgers)

    -No income tax

    -Great owner (Gives you time, not going to fire you after 1 bad year -cough- Cleveland -cough-)

    -Great city with a low cost of living while still being a huge market, and a great local economy (4th largest city in the US)

    -Rabid fan base (Even in a 2 win season, Texans sold out every game and overall attendance averaged 100.8% of stadium capacity)

    -Decent weather (it gets very hot in the summer though)

    I know I am biased but it’s just my 2 cents….

  41. Detroit, Is a great opportunity, but talent alone is not the answer. They need a coach that mold playes from individuals into a single unit (A TEAM) Tbe Lions have alot of talented individuals but there are no I in TEAM

  42. It is hard to disagree with Detroit being the best opening. The Lions have a nice nucleus of talent. There is one snag in this premise….why have the Lions been bastions of futility throughout the years….

    The Lions have 1 playoff win and 10 playoff appearances since 1957.

  43. I like how all of the Redskins fans are jumping to let us know that they have a better program…

    8 coaches / 16 years. Nice work, Snyder.

  44. DETROIT, you are totally delusional if you think Jon Gruden is coming to crap motor city. He already said he’s staying with ESPN. Do a google search losers. Its slim pickens for any team dumb enough to fire their HC. You guys wont find better than Schwartz.

  45. Bagging on the city of Detroit when mentioning the head coaching vacancy for the Lions is ridiculous. Nobody lives in the City of Detroit, they live in the neighboring million-dollar suburbs of Oakland County: one of the richest counties in the United States. Southeast Michigan is an incredible place to live. Those who say otherwise are clueless.

  46. Coming from a Bucs fan, I’d say the most attractive job would be Houston. The pay would be tax free & they have more overall talent than Detroit. Lets not also forget they have the #1 draft pick & looks to be next year’s Kansas City Chiefs. Detroit looks “okay” on paper but lets call a spade a spade. Besides cap issues, if you look past Calvin Johnson they’re in trouble @ the WR position. Burleson has what MAYBE 2 good seasons left, & the back 7 on defense has a lot of questions marks as well. Again Houston is the top spot.

  47. (Any team that has a coaching vacancy) think their coaching vacancy is the NFL’s best opportunity.

    Would you rather live in a rich suburb of Detroit or a rich suburb of Tampa? Nuff said.

  48. Funny how people say the Washington job is better because you have to live in Detroit. Have you ever been to Washington DC? I am from Detroit and I was scared near the stadium! No one of affluence lives in Detroit. The facility isn’t even there.

  49. The Redskins are the team I follow second to Detroit since I live in DC and I can say they are possibly the worst opening right now. The Browns, Vikes, Texans and TB all need to find a QB but at least they all draft high enough to try to get one this year. (And Tampa may stick with Glennon depending on who the new coach is). RG3 was a shell of himself this year and only time will tell if that was all injury related. The o-line is a wreck, Garcon is the only reliable WR, and the defense is pretty terrible. The line sure could use that #2 pick the Rams have to add Clowney. Perry Riley and Kerrigan are good but Orakpo is a free agent. The secondary is worse than Detroit’s and that’s saying something.

  50. the people that are bagging on the coaching vacancy saying that no one wants to live in Detroit are idiots.

    First of all with the exception of downton and a few other neighborhoods, the city of detroit is pretty nasty, which is why only 7% of the state of michigan’s 9,900,000 popuation lives in the city limits.

    And I get it, the city is bankrupt, but last I checked the team is owned by a guy with a last name that is somewhat well known.

    No athlete or coach lives in the city limits, they all live in the multi-million dollar gated communties in the suburbs. With that being said, if someone wanted to live in the actual city, the lofts and downtown condo’s in the city sell for more than most people reading this posts houses do.

    There are literally multiple dozens of cities within an easy drive to the stadium and practice facilty ( which isn’t in the city) that are super nice. For exampe, I live in Ann Arbor ( their is large school nearby with a multi billion dollar endowment nearby that maybe you have heard of ) I am about 45 mins to an hour from the stadium, and maybe 30 -45 minutes from the practice facility. It’s not cheap to live here and houses sell so fast here they are hard to find without getting into a bidding war with other buyers.

    southeastern michgain is an awesome place to live, the people that try to lump it in with detroit either are complete idiots, have never been here, or both.

    the people commenting on the weather are so stupid I shouldn’t even mention it.

  51. There is no doubt they have as much talent as any team out there.I would like to see Mike Shanahan take the job to work with Stafford.He’s a great Quarterback coach.As for the guy who said Washington is loaded with talent I disagree.RGlll Ithink was a 1 year wonder waiting to bust.GO LIONS !!!!!

  52. Mayhew and Lewand contributed to the Lions dismal record of 31 and 97 from 2001-2008, with more 0-16 records than playoff appearances.

    The single difference between being a laughing stock for nearly a decade and being a team with higher expectations was Schwartz. Schwartz knew how to change a culture where Lewand and Mayhew et al failed for years. Now the brain trust that was a part of a culture from 2001-2008 that allowed players to park in handicap parking spaces while older employees had to walk, think they know what it takes to get to the next level without the guy who got them out of a ditch.

    It certainly is a desirable job, and to think Lewand and Mayhew figured out how to change the culture without Jim Schwartz, and know how to get to the next level without him is as laughable as the Lions were prior to Schwartz’s arrival in Detroit.

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