Offensive coordinator is "job one" for Lions

After returning from a week of scouting talent at the East-West shrine game, Lions' head coach Steve Mariucci would like to add an offensive coordinator to his staff to help get on with the task of revamping the offensive playbook in order to better take advantage of the team's strengths while diminishing its weaknesses.

ALLEN PARK - After heading back from a week of scouting talent at the East-West Shrine game in San Francisco, Lions head coach Steve Mariucci would like to add an offensive coordinator to his staff to help get on with the task of revamping the offensive playbook in order to better take advantage of the team's strengths while diminishing its weaknesses.

Mariucci interviewed three coaches from his current staff, offensive line coach Pat Morris, quarterbacks coach Greg Olson and running backs coach Tom Rathmon.

The team also received permission to speak with former San Francisco 49ers offensive coordinator Ted Tollner. A ten-year NFL assistant, Tollner has served in various capacities with Buffalo, San Diego, St. Louis and San Francisco.

Tollner will not be back in San Francisco after the 49ers hired former Ravens defensive coordinator Mike Nolan as their new head coach, he is expected to make a clean sweep of the 49ers coaching staff.

Minnesota Vikings offensive coordinator Scott Linehan is available after his contract expires on January 31st. Linehan is balking at signing a new deal with the Vikings until he finds out just how secure head coach Mike Tice is with owner Red McCombs.

"I just want to get a little bit more informed and address what options that I might have and do what's best for my wife and my boys," said Linehan.

"Am I looking for lifetime security now? I don't know if there is such a thing in coaching," Linehan told the Duluth (MN) News Tribune. "But I would like to be able to tell you I feel comfortable for the next two, three years and that I can look my family in the eye and say, 'We're going to be here' - unless I get a head coaching job."

There is a remote chance that Linehan could be named head coach if current head coach Mike Tice is fired by the Vikings.

Detroit might also elect to take a look at Saints offensive coordinator Mike McCarthy. McCarthy finds himself in limbo as embattled head coach Jim Haslett has been ordered by Saints brass - presumably owner Tom Benson, to revamp his staff. He has already fired three assistants amid charges of racism.

McCarthy has pledged loyalty to Haslett- to a point.

"I'm going to sit back and look at what Jim has to say and see what other people have to say, and I'll make a decision.

"I think the best years for our offense are ahead of us. I also think we've done good things the last five years, and this has been the best five-year stretch in franchise history."

Despite McCarthy's assessment, Haslett may be forced to move in a different direction and he may be looking for a job.

Detroit needs to settle on a candidate soon.

They'd like to get the new coordinator's input into an offense that is expected to take advantage of the strengths of rookie running back Kevin Jones, two high profile receivers (Charles Rogers and Roy Williams) and returning fourth year quarterback Joey Harrington.

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