Analysis: Greatest Show No More

Offensive line coach Jim Colletto's designation as offensive coordinator lends credence to head coach Rod Marinelli's willingness to bring a running game back to Detroit.

After a two-year stint in Detroit, the Mike Martz project is no more.

According to an ESPN report, the team finally dumped its offensive coordinator after a week of speculation that his days in the Motor City were numbered.

Interestingly, it isn't just receivers' coach Kippy Brown that will man the team's offensive controls. Although that was widely assumed by both the media and many in Allen Park, the Lions will instead designate offensive line coach Joe Colletto with developing the team's offense.

Brown will remain an offensive assistant, which includes calling the plays and managing the unit's passing game.

But Colletto's designation as offensive coordinator lends credence to head coach Rod Marinelli's willingness to bring a running game back to Detroit.

Colletto has been incredibly successful as an offensive line coach, but that success has been built upon almost two decades of experience as a run-first offensive coordinator in the collegiate ranks.

The pass-happy offense preferred by Martz (which also led to his demise) conflicts sharply with Colletto's style and history.

Before serving as an offensive line coach at UCLA (2006) and during the Baltimore Ravens' Super Bowl run (1999-2005), Colletto engineered Notre Dame's offense in 1997 and 1998 after serving five years as Purdue's head coach. Under Colletto, the Boilermakers ran for at least 1,900 yards each year.

He also coached Cal State Fullerton ('75-79), and was the offensive coordinator at Purdue ('82-84), Arizona State ('85-87), and Ohio State ('88-90).

In nearly each of those stints, Colletto's offenses led the school to a bowl game, primarily using the running game.

With the Fighting Irish, Notre Dame tallied over 8,500 yards of total offense and appeared in bowl games both years.

Simply put, if the Lions didn't intend on steering away from Martz's system, Colletto wouldn't have been handed his new job title.

Marinelli, who grew increasingly frustrated with Martz's refusal to run the football in 2007, likely tabbed Colletto based on that difference. But it also means that Colletto will have to scrap much of Martz's work the past few years, and start from scratch.

Lions' players, particularly those on offense, went public with their feeling towards dealing with yet another change. This is where Brown comes in.

Brown shadowed Martz the past two years in Detroit, and is familiar with the techniques applied by Martz. Although he won't match the "Mad Scientist's" wit, he is an adept play caller and well-trained offensive mind.

As the team enters the off-season, and prepares for mini camp and training camp, Colletto and Brown will work closely, slowly liquidating Martz's offense while attempting to maintain the chemistry and continuity that has been developed by Martz since 2006.

Notes:Offensive assistant Shawn Jefferson will replace Brown as the receivers coach. Martz's son, Tim, was also fired.


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