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Sat. Jun 15th, 2024

What Detroit Lions assistant coaches say: Staff continuity is increasing

By meerna Jun12,2024

Here’s a collection of statements from Detroit Lions assistant coaches ahead of the team’s last organized open practice session on Tuesday.

Terrell Williams (Defensive line/running game coordinator)

If the youth on the roster was a factor in his decision to come to Detroit.

“That was a big part of it. I looked at the squad and I know the coaches here and what they want, so it was an easy transition. But that was a big part of it. Looking at Alim, Hutch, Paschal and all these guys who I think are getting better and better, my job is to push them a little bit and see where they go.”

Mark Brunell (Quarterback)

On Nate Sudfeld’s hit in the quarterback room.

“Yes, nothing can replace having a veteran in this room. The experience he has. Now he didn’t play much, but he played a lot. This is what Nate brings to the table. He has been in many systems. He’s a hard-working guy with a great attitude. He’s great in the room, he’s great in the locker room, people like him, but he’s very smart. He understands situational football as well as anyone I’ve ever played with. We ask a lot of questions of our quarterbacks at the line of scrimmage and in training camp. We ask our guys to get us into the right game.

“So if you have a game and there’s a problem, you need to be able to fix it. Within the parameters of the game we have the ability to go from one play to the next depending on what we see and 99 percent of the time Nate is right, he understands the defense, he knows what to look for and he’s just very, very smart. He can get you into the game and that’s half the battle then go and do it, you’ll take the team, having him in the room with that ability and his ability to work well with the other guys and be a backup to Jared, just like David Blough was in last year and so did Nate. So far, having these guys in the room has been a huge asset to the quarterback and quarterback coach.

Jim O’Neill (Defense Assistant/Security)

Whether he prefers a group of veterans or youth players.

“I like this mix. I like this mix. I think once guys understand why, they’ll know how to get out of trouble when they get on the field when something bad happens.

Steve Heiden (Tight ends)

On whether one of his sharp players will take on the role of full-back.

“Yes, everyone is really on track at the moment. I have a deep room with all the guys we have there. So we all need to know about it and we’ll see how it goes in camp.”

Kelvin Sheppard (Linebacks)

About the continuity of the defense, having several players who have spent many years in defense.

“I think it’s something you’ll see and have seen in the offseason. The biggest leap we’re making, I can tell you first-hand, defensively, and that carries on into the team, is chemistry, collectiveness. Speaking of the defensive scheme, for the first time in four years we’re mostly carrying over the same scheme, so they’ve taken care of him guys. Now this isn’t basic system installation 101 stuff like that. We’re now up to 3, 4,500 levels of nuance, which allows these guys to play faster and create moves that you probably couldn’t do when you were learning it the first day, completely new.

“And then these guys team up. Knowing how Alim McNeill plays and how I will play with him. Knowing how Hutch plays. These guys are two, three, four years old now. Some of them, like the Levi (Onwuzurike) of the world, these guys have been here since 2021. So when you have that, obviously it’s a natural growth and progression.”

Antwaan Randle El (Wide Receivers)

About the increase in wingers’ salaries after Amon-Ra St. signed. Brown contract extension this offseason.

“It’s crazy, isn’t it? Well, 20 years earlier I probably would have been a quarterback. That’s a completely different conversation. This money, kudos to these guys for getting to the point where they’re earning it You look like cats, it’s worth it, especially our guy, he understands it, he understands not only football but also the team when it comes to Saint. So it’s good to do it. We’ll see him get paid and it’s well deserved.”

Hank Fraley (Offensive line)

On the continuity of the coaching staff and offensive personnel.

“It’s always a good thing for the O-line. It’s the time of year we could get together here and run around a little bit. Some guests went away more often than others. But it was good. Just being in this room together has been amazing for us and it’s always a great time to be here. As a coaching staff, it’s always good to be around each other. It’s a daily grind, but I’m having fun with it (term) grind, this time of year the question is, “How can we get better as a coaching staff?” We’re having a great time, it’s fun coming to work and hanging out, but we need that break, I need a break from Coach Johnson.

Tanner Engstrand (Passing coordinator)

On the impact of retaining multiple offensive coaches and continuity in the offense.

“I thought it was fantastic because as coaches you’re always training, but last year there was a lot of coaching the coaches because they were new. This year we all know, everyone is on the same page, we all know what we want. We are able to jump into the third year on offense and not stall, but slowly, teaching the players and coaches. Now coaches are coaching players on the fly and they’re really all on the same page with continuity in understanding why we’re doing it, what the details are and where we need to be. So I think that’s definitely been a huge advantage for us this spring.

By meerna

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