Lewis' Retirement Will Shake up Lions' Offense

The west coast offense is gone, well not exactly, but expect some changes to next year's edition of the Detroit Lions offense. This was all set in motion by the surprise retirement of Lions offensive coordinator Sherman Lewis. Lewis, a 27-year veteran of the NFL, decided to retire according to Lions officials, but it would not at all be surprising to see Lewis resurface elsewhere.

ALLEN PARK -- The west coast offense is gone, well not exactly, but expect some changes to next year's edition of the Detroit Lions offense.

This was all set in motion by the surprise retirement of Lions offensive coordinator Sherman Lewis. Lewis, a 27-year veteran of the NFL decide to retire according to Lions officials, but it would not at all be surprising to see Lewis resurface elsewhere.

While holding the title of offensive coordinator, Lewis helped both former head coach Marty Mornhinweg and current head coach Steve Mariucci install their respective versions of the west coast offense, but was never allowed to actually call the plays. Instead Mariucci and Mornhinweg called the plays and at the end of the season, Mariucci turned some of the playcalling over to quarterbacks coach Greg Olson, a move that raised some eyebrows.

Mariucci asssured the media that Olson, Lewis and offensive line coach Pat Morris all had input into the process, but it became apparent a change was in the offing for next season.

Lewis was not present at today's press conference. He has been an assistant at both Green Bay and San Francisco and was Dennis Green's offensive coordinator - and called plays- in Minnesota. It would not be surprising if Lewis re-joined Green in Arizona or was a factor is what is rumored to be a new staff when Dennis Erickson is fired in San Francisco.

"I publicly want to say thank you to Sherman Lewis for everything that he has done," said Mariucci at his Monday press conference. "Not just for the Lions, but for every organization that he's worked for and this National Football League. He's a great man and a heck of a coach."

For Detroit, it appears now, that Olson is the odds-on favorite to become offensive coordinator while remaining as quarterbacks coach. If so, Olson will likely shake up the offense with a vertical passing game which he employed as a college coach at Idaho and Central Washington.

"(Greg Olson) has done a nice job. We have moved [the play calling] around and lately he has been the primary play caller. I wanted to see how he's done. He's done a good job with it. We need to determine if we want to continue it in that fashion or alter it a little bit. Is there a new guy that we might consider? Those decisions haven't been made at all. I will say that Greg has done a nice job."

Olson's rise from an offensive assistant to a potential offensive coordinator is meteoric considering he has only been an NFL assistant three seasons.

If Mariucci were to look outside the organization, Pat Shurmur, the former Dearborn Divine Child graduate who is currently the Philadelphia Eagles quarterbacks coach could be a candidate. The Eagles have been able to move the football down the field in their version of the WCO and used Terrell Owens to good advantage. Some feel that rookie wide receiver Roy Williams has a similar skillset as Owens.

Shurmur might welcome a return to his native state. A wild card would be former 49ers assistant George Stewart, who Mariucci coached with in San Francisco and who he attempted to hire as an offensive assistant in Detroit before he elected to move to Atlanta.

NEXT YEAR: The Lions opponents for 2005 Atlanta, Carolina, Baltimore, Cincinnati, Arizona, Green Bay, Minnesota, Chicago
New Orleans, Tampa Bay, Cleveland, Dallas and Pittsburgh.

NFL DRAFT: The Lions will pick 10th in the 2005 NFL draft. The top 15 picks look this way.
1 San Francisco
2 Miami
3 Cleveland
4 Chicago
5 Tampa Bay
6 Tennessee
7 Oakland
8 Arizona
9 Washington
10 Detroit
11 Dallas
12 NY Giants (to San Diego for Manning-Rivers trade)
13 Houston
14 Carolina
15 Kansas City


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