Lions land Graves as WR coach; push Higgins out

ALLEN PARK - The Detroit Lions today named former Cleveland Browns assistant Fred Graves as their new wide receivers coach replacing Kevin Higgins.

ALLEN PARK - The Detroit Lions today named former Cleveland Browns assistant Fred Graves as their new wide receivers coach replacing Kevin Higgins.

Detroit moved to hire Graves ahead of a decision regarding whether Higgins would be named the Minnesota Vikings quarterbacks coach.

It simply appears there was no more room for Higgins.

Higgins came to Detroit as Marty Mornhinweg's quarterbacks coach and stayed on when Steve Mariucci was hired. But Mariucci wanted to bring along Greg Olson as his quarterbacks coach and moved Higgins to wide receivers coach, a position he was unfamilar with.

Higgins was uncomfortable with the move from the start and wanted to get back to coaching quarterbacks so it was mutually agreed upon that he would depart when his contract expired later this month.

In Graves, Detroit is getting an experienced handler of wide receivers in the West Coast offense. Graves worked with the Buffalo Bills offense for two seasons before moving to the Browns last year. He has a reputation as a hands-on tactician who helps receivers run precise routes.

The Lions will continue work on their playbook, looking to take advantage of NFL rules that encourage throwing the ball downfield. Graves is expected to be a part of devising the new playbook.

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