The Lions have hired former Maryland/UConn head coach Randy Edsall, reports Tim Twentyman of DetroitLions.com. Edsall, 57, will serve as the director of football research/special projects.
The role is certainly not a common one among NFL staffs, but according to Twentyman, Edsall will assist in gameday preparation (presumably scouting future opponents, searching for tendencies, etc.), and will also aid in draft and free agency work. Presumably, he’ll act as something of a liaison between the front office and the coaching staff, but I’d assume he’ll primarily work under general manager Bob Quinn, if only because the pair has a professional history — Quinn acted as a graduate assistant under Edsall when the latter was head coach at Connecticut.
Quinn, of course, came to Detroit from the Patriots’ scouting staff, and as Ryan Hannable of WEEI.com points out, director of football research, while not an ordinary NFL title, is a position on New England’s staff. Ernie Adams, a confidant of Bill Belichick, has long held the same job with the Patriots, working on in-game strategies and decision-making (Adams was profiled by Dan Shaughnessy of the Boston Globe last year).
Edsall’s coaching experience dates back to 1980, and while most of that time was spent in the college ranks, he did spend a few years in the NFL, acting as the Jaguars defensive backs coach form 1994-97. He’d been the head coach at Maryland since 2014, but was relieved of his duties after posting a 2-4 record to start the 2015 campaign.
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