Lions Bring Aboard Former Viking OC Linehan

Just two weeks into his gig as Detroit's big cheese, Jim Schwartz has completed the hiring of his coordinators after bringing aboard former St. Louis Rams head coach Scott Linehan to run the team's offense.

Jim Schwartz may not have previous head coaching experience, but he's certainly surrounding himself with it.

Just two weeks into his gig as Detroit's big cheese, Schwartz has completed the hiring of his coordinators after bringing aboard former St. Louis Rams head coach Scott Linehan to be the team's offensive coordinator.

The Lions announced the move on Friday.

Earlier in the week, Schwartz hired the seasoned Gunther Cunningham to manage the team's defense.

But Linehan's credentials, albeit not as extensive as Cunningham's background, are impressive nonetheless.

Although his head coaching stint in St. Louis was forgettable (the Rams won just 11 games in little more than two years under his guidance), Linehan is recognized for his exploits as a coordinator and creative offensive mind.

During his tenure as coordinator in Minnesota, he was responsible for turning the duo of Daunte Culpepper and Randy Moss into household names, leading the Vikings to second, first, and fourth-best offenses between 2002 and 2004.

The Vikings went 36 consecutive games during that period with 300-plus yards per contest.

But Linehan isn't necessarily a Mike Martz clone, however. At each stop, including a successful one-year stint as Miami's offensive coordinator, he has improved the running game significantly.

Offenses Under Scott Linehan
Team Year Points Yards
St. Louis* 2007 28th Overall 24th Overall
St. Louis* 2006 10th Overall 6th Overall
Miami 2005 16th Overall 14th Overall
Minnesota 2004 8th Overall 4th Overall
Minnesota 2003 6th Overall 1st Overall
Minnesota 2002 8th Overall 2nd Overall

It isn't known whether Linehan will keep Culpepper, who is due a $2.5 million roster bonus in February, but the history the two share -- along with Moss-clone Calvin Johnson -- certainly makes the idea somewhat intriguing.

Just last week, Linehan turned down the same opportunity in San Francisco, where he would have replaced Martz, a former Lions offensive coordinator. Interestingly, Linehan had succeeded Martz in St. Louis.

Linehan coached in the college ranks for 13 years, where his teams played in seven bowl games and won five conference titles.

According to sources, while Schwartz will continue to evaluate potential assistant coaches, he will allow both Linehan and Cunningham to have significant say over who works under them.


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