Marinelli The Next Lions Coach?

According to local Detroit radio station WDFN, the Detroit Lions are close to an agreement with Buccaneers' defensive line and assistant head coach Rod Marinelli.

According to local Detroit radio station WDFN, the Detroit Lions are close to an agreement with Buccaneers' defensive line and assistant head coach Rod Marinelli.

The report comes just 24 hours after apparent frontrunner Russ Grimm was rumored to be dropped from the organization's radar. Marinelli had his second interview with the Lions on Tuesday, and was among the top three candidates including former Saints' coach Jim Haslett.

A press conference will reportedly be scheduled for Thursday morning.

Marinelli, recognized as 'innovative' in defensive strategy and a disciplinarian, has coached the Buccaneers' defensive line for the past ten seasons. In the last six years, the Bucs' have tallied a league best 236 sacks. Throughout his tenure, at least one Tampa Bay defensive lineman has ranked in the top 15 in league sacks on seven occasions and in the top 10 five different times.

He is also credited with helping produce the dominant front four -- which included All Pro's Simeon Rice and Warren Sapp -- that helped lead Tampa Bay to its first Super Bowl in 2002. In that Super Bowl, the Buccaneers forced five interceptions, and made life miserable for Raiders' quarterback Rich Gannon en route to a 48-21 blowout.

Although it's understandable that former NFL linebacker and current Lions' GM Matt Millen preferred a defensive-minded coach, the hiring is odd considering Marinelli has never been a head coach.

Throughout his extensive collegiate coaching career, the most prominent title he ever achieved was assistant head coach.


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