Lions Rumors

Lions Rumors: Glasgow, Stafford, Staff, Draft

The Lions will fill the offensive line coach post vacated by Jeff Davidson stepping away from coaching by promoting Hank Fraley, Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press notes. Fraley spent the past two seasons as Detroit’s assistant O-line coach and served in that role for the Vikings previously. The former NFL veteran has been a team’s top offensive line coach three times, but each occurred at California colleges — the University of San Diego, San Jose State and UCLA — and each stay lasted one season. Fraley, 42, spent three seasons with the Vikings. Davidson is coaching as part of the Lions’ Senior Bowl staff but will not return for the 2020 season.

Here is the latest out of Detroit:

  • After some murky comments about his Detroit future in the season’s immediate aftermath, Graham Glasgow could well be a starter somewhere else in 2020. The Lions are expected to let Glasgow walk in free agency, Birkett adds. While they would still have four of their five starting offensive linemen back, Glasgow has been a productive player for years and would profile as one of the better blockers available come March. Working in a three-guard rotation with Joe Dahl and Kenny Wiggins, Glasgow rated as Pro Football Focus’ No. 12 guard this season.
  • Although Patricia gave Paul Pasqualoni play-calling responsibilities in his two-year stay as Lions defensive coordinator, it is not yet known if new Detroit DC Cory Undlin will call plays. As of now, Undlin has “no idea” if he will be calling the signals next season, per Michael Rothstein of ESPN.com. The Lions fell from 10th to 31st in total defense in Pasqualoni’s second season in charge, though DVOA rated Detroit’s defense as a bottom-end unit (27th and 28th) in each of the ex-Syracuse HC’s two years running the unit.
  • Given the Lions’ endorsement of Matthew Stafford, and the hot seats Patricia and GM Bob Quinn are on, the draft’s No. 3 overall pick could be for sale. While Patricia said (via Birkett) it is too early to declare the team open for business at No. 3, his and Quinn’s comments about Stafford’s status point to the Lions as a candidate to move down and collect assets from a team eyeing Tua Tagovailoa or Justin Herbert. Patricia does not expect Stafford’s injury issues over the past two years to affect how the Lions proceed in the draft.

Snacks Weeks Away From Retirement Call

  • Damon Harrison revealed at the regular season’s end he is considering retirement, and the Lions are still waiting. They will likely not know Snacks’ plans for at least another few weeks, per the Detroit Free Press’ Dave Birkett. Thanks to the one-year add-on the Lions gave him in August, Harrison is under contract through 2021.
  • The Lions are expected to promote defensive assistant Steve Gregory to secondary coach, Birkett adds. The Lions hired Gregory, who played under Matt Patricia in New England, in 2018. Detroit fired DBs coach Brian Stewart after the season.

Lions GM On Drafting Matthew Stafford Replacement

Will the Lions select a quarterback with the No. 3 overall pick? Many have pondered the possibility, but GM Bob Quinn says he’s “totally comfortable and happy Matthew Stafford‘s our quarterback,” (Twitter link via SiriusXM).

The Lions, at least publicly, are committed to Stafford as their Week 1 starter. That won’t stop speculation about an early QB selection, however. Stafford, in theory, could be tasked with going into “coach mode” for one of this year’s top signal callers – every QB not named Joe Burrow should be there for Detroit to consider.

Predictions For Lions FAs

Updated 2020 NFL Draft Order

The stage has been set for the conference championships. The Titans, Chiefs, 49ers, and Packers are moving on to the semifinals, while the Texans, Seahawks, Ravens, and Vikings will begin planning for the offseason ahead. Unfortunately for the Texans, their first round pick belongs to the Dolphins.

Here’s an updated look at the 2020 NFL Draft order from Nos. 1-28:

1. Bengals (2-14)

2. Redskins (3-13)

3. Lions (3-12-1)

4. Giants (4-12)

5 Dolphins (5-11)

6. Chargers (5-11)

7. Panthers (5-11)

8. Cardinals (5-10-1)

9. Jaguars (6-10)

10. Browns (6-10)

11. Jets (7-9)

12. Raiders (7-9)

13. Colts (7-9)

14. Buccaneers (7-9)

15. Broncos (7-9)

16. Falcons (7-9)

17. Cowboys (8-8)

18. Dolphins (via Steelers 8-8)

19. Raiders (via Bears 8-8)

20. Jaguars (via Rams 9-7)

21. Eagles (9-7)

22. Bills (10-6)

23. Patriots (12-4)

24. Saints (13-3)

25. Vikings (10-6)

26. Dolphins (via Texans 10-6)

27. Seahawks (11-5)

28. Ravens (14-2)

Lions To Hire Cory Undlin As DC

The Lions are hiring Eagles defensive backs coach Cory Undlin as their new defensive coordinator, as Field Yates of ESPN.com tweets. Undlin and Lions head coach Matt Patricia began their NFL careers together as coaching assistants with the Patriots in 2004 and they’re teaming up more than 15 years later. 

Undlin takes over for Paul Pasqualoni, who stepped down/retired at the end of the 2019 season. He comes with ample NFL experience, including stops with the Browns and Broncos, in addition to the aforementioned Pats and Eagles stints. The Eagles’ secondary has not performed well in recent years, but many feel that Undlin was stuck with some iffy personnel.

Even though Undlin is taking over as DC in Detroit, he won’t necessarily call the plays. Patricia quietly took that responsibility away from Pasqualoni last year and he may opt to ease Undlin into that responsibility.

Undlin’s departure leaves yet another vacancy on the Eagles’ coaching staff. They’ll have to find a new DB coach, offensive coordinator, and wide receivers coach after firing Mike Groh and Carson Walch last week.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Lions Hire Brayden Coombs As ST Coordinator

The Lions announced that they have hired Brayden Coombs as the team’s new special teams coordinator. The team announced last week that they had parted ways with former coordinator John Bonamego.

Coombs, 33, had spent the past decade with the Bengals organization, including the past seven as the assistant special teams coordinator. During his time in Cincinnati, Coombs also served as an offensive assistant, quality control coach, defensive quality control coach, and offensive quality control coach.

While serving as a special teams coach, the Bengals have ranked as one of the top systems in the league. As Justin Rogers of the Detroit News points out on Twitter, the 2019 Bengals special teams unit was ranked first by Football Outsiders and fifth by Pro Football Focus.

Coombs’ contract with Cincy expired, allowing him to seek another gig. Darrin Simmons will return for his 19th season as the Bengals special teams coordinator in 2020.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFL Draft Rumors: Lions, Giants, Dolphins

Here’s the latest NFL Draft buzz from Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller:

  • Miller would be positively stunned if the Bengals don’t draft LSU quarterback Joe Burrow No. 1 overall and the Redskins don’t grab Ohio State defensive end Chase Young with the No. 2 pick.
  • With that in mind, Miller feels the draft truly starts at No. 3 overall, where the Lions pick. Sources tell Miller that they’ll look heavily at Ohio State cornerback Jeff Okudah and Auburn defensive lineman Derrick Brown. Then again, it’s a prime trade-back spot – teams like the Dolphins, Chargers, and Panthers could move up to land a QB.
  • Unless new head coach Joe Judge sways him in a different direction, Giants GM Dave Gettleman is expected to look at edge-rushers, left tackles, and wide receivers with the No. 4 pick. “He can’t help himself with linemen, so slot your top-rated offensive tackle there,” one scout who previously worked with Gettleman said. Alabama’s Jedrick Wills Jr. and Georgia’s Andrew Thomas rank among the top tackles in this year’s crop.
  • No team has done more work on Oregon’s Justin Herbert than the Dolphins, who own the No. 5 pick and two more selections later on, Miller writes. The Dolphins will almost certainly go QB here, then shift their attention to offensive tackle, edge-rusher, and running back help.
  • The same source who tipped Miller off to the Cardinals‘ love of Kyler Murray last year says they’re wild about Oklahoma wide receiver CeeDee Lamb. But, internally, they also feel that the offensive line need is too big to overlook.
  • The Raiders, with two picks in the first round, are looking to go defense and wide receiver, Miller hears.
  • The Bills are already nervous about other teams leapfrogging them for wide receivers, Miller hears. The Bills own the No. 22 overall pick and nine total selections in the draft.
  • The Patriots are impossible to read, but none of Miller’s sources believe that they’ll draft a quarterback early on. Tom Brady has vowed to continue playing, but he’ll also explore his options in free agency.

NFL Reserve/Futures Contracts: 1/7/20

The latest reserve/futures signings from around the NFL:

Buffalo Bills

Detroit Lions

New England Patriots

Oakland Raiders

Pittsburgh Steelers

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Lions QBs Coach To Follow Matt Rhule?

  • Matt Rhule had issues with the Jets attempting to overrule him on staff decisions, but Ralph Vacchiano of SNY notes the Giants would not do the same. The Giants would let Rhule select his assistants, and the Baylor HC is believed to have candidates in place to follow him to New York if hired. Former Giants assistant and current Lions QBs coach Sean Ryan and Baylor defensive coordinator Phil Snow are believed to be Rhule’s coordinator choices should he land either the Giants’ or Panthers’ HC jobs, Vacchiano reports. Ryan, 47, held a key role with the Texans from 2017-18 but was with the Giants for nine years, including in 2012, when Rhule was on staff. Snow, 64, has been Rhule’s DC at Temple and Baylor. He coached with the Lions from 2005-08.