Thursday, January 24, 2013
Washburn's impact in Detroit
By Tim Kavanagh
The Detroit Lions have employed the Wide 9 look on the defensive line since Jim Schwartz took over as HC. Schwartz -- who was DC in Tennessee prior to his post in Detroit -- used the system with the Titans, along with veteran D-line coach Jim Washburn. After Washburn was let go from his position with Philadelphia, there was speculation that he'd reunite with Schwartz, and in fact, that happened this week. So how will this alter the Lions' D for 2013?
For starters, the Wide 9 is obviously going nowhere. There had been some talk that the Lions would move away from the strategy -- and some thought that they'd even move to a 3-4 defense -- but this idea was squashed by Schwartz earlier this week. As for Washburn's specific role, his job title has yet to be announced, but he'll generally function as another defensive mind in the conversation.
"The more eyes on those guys the better," Schwartz said Wednesday, per the Detroit Free Press. "That can help with technique, that can help with scheme, it can help with game plan, it can help with game day. There's a lot of positives there. He's very familiar with our scheme, he's had a lot of production."
The addition of Washburn may also influence the type of players that the Lions target in free agency and the draft. DE Cliff Avril is an impending free agent, and some believe that he'll dip his toes in the market (at the very least) before making a decision on his 2013 destination. If Avril leaves, it will be imperative for the Lions to find another speedy edge pass-rusher that fits in to the Schwartz-Washburn system.