The Detroit Lions, following a disappointing 4-12 season, decided to make a few changes to their coaching staff. Granted, a lot of their issues came down to being unlucky and oft injured, and they could have been justified in standing pat, but they decided not to. Fortunately, they kept the key coaches in Jim Schwartz, Scott Linehan, and Gunther Cunningham. Unfortunately, they kept the only position coach I would have called to be replaced in their quarterback coach, the guy who is standing by while Matthew Stafford's throwing motion gets all out of whack.
Additionally, it should be pointed out that these minor coaching changes won't impact the outcome on the field much. The degree to which head coaches influence the outcome of games in all the major American sports is overblown, and the impact of coaches down the line get less and less the more insignificant they get. So, none of these moves will make a major difference. However, the one coach who has yet to be replaced will probably be the biggest difference maker. Special teams coach Danny Crossman is gone. He's already landed a new job, but it's not surprising the Lions and Crossman parted ways. After all, Detroit had one of the worst special teams units in the NFL this season, including two games where the Lions essentially lost due to special teams. The fact is, coaches like Crossman are eminently replaceable, so when there is any justification to do so, that's generally what happens.
Curtis Modkins is the new running backs coach/running game coordinator. He has been the offensive coordinator/running backs coach in Buffalo during Chan Gailey's tenure. Gailey was axed, and now the Lions have added Modkins. The Bills had a good running game, so this is at the very least a satisfactory hiring. Bobby Johnson is the new tight ends coach. He was doing the same think in Jacksonville this season. Jeremiah Washburn has been promoted from assistant offensive line coach to regular offensive line coach. Fair enough. Lastly, Tim Lappano has been promoted from tight ends coach to wide receiver coach. From what I have heard, tight end coach is one of the lower tiered position coaching jobs, so this is truly a promotion. Can he get anything out of folks not named Calvin Johnson?
Like I said, this moves will have minimal impacts, be they positive or negative. We just have to hope as Lions fans they all generally work out.
Also, Calvin Johnson has bowed out of the Pro Bowl due to injuries. This is zero percent surprising. Lastly, I'll take the Niners and Patriots to win this week.