While both Bob Quinn and Matt Patricia will return after the Lions’ worst season in 10 years, the latter’s coaching staff will look considerably different in 2020.
The Lions fired special teams coordinator John Bonamego on New Year’s Eve and also axed five assistants, the team announced. Linebackers coach Al Golden, defensive backs coach Brian Stewart, tight ends coach Chris White, strength coach Harold Nash and assistant strength coach Rodney Hill will not be back next season. Second-year defensive coordinator Paul Pasqualoni remains in place.
Bonamego returned to the Lions earlier this year, doing so after spending four seasons as Central Michigan’s head coach. He was also Detroit’s ST coordinator from 2013-14. The Lions fired previous ST boss Joe Marciano midway through Patricia’s first season.
Golden had been with the Lions since 2016, working as their tight ends instructor from 2016-17 before moving over to the other side of the ball. This was his first NFL coaching destination, having previously been a college head coach from 2006-15 at Temple and Miami.
Stewart joined Patricia’s initial staff last season, but the Lions struggled in pass coverage in 2019. The team ranked 29th in pass-defense DVOA. White will not have a chance to further develop T.J. Hockenson, who struggled after a record-setting debut against a Cardinals defense that turned out to be historically bad at defending tight ends. The Lions have still yet to see 2017 first-round linebacker Jarrad Davis justify his draft slot; he rated as Pro Football Focus’ sixth-worst full-time ‘backer this season.