Defensive coordinator Paul Pasqualoni as well as offensive line coach Jeff Davidson are walking away from coaching, the team revealed. In a statement posted to DetroitLions.com, Matt Patricia thanked the duo for their years of service in the league.
Here’s how they read:
On Jeff Davidson:
“Coach Davidson recently informed me that he will take an indefinite leave from coaching. Jeff was an invaluable resource to me during the past two seasons and his leadership will be greatly missed. He has left the door open to a coaching return in future years and I fully support his personal decision to spend time away from the game. I thank him for his dedication to our team and wish him and his family all the best.”
On Paul Pasqualoni:
“Coach Pasqualoni notified me this week that he will be stepping away from the Lions to be closer to his family. Coach P is one of the best men I’ve ever been around, on both personal and professional levels. I owe him so much and I’m grateful of the impact he had on our players, coaches and support staff. He will continue to be a great sounding board for me as a coach, father and leader. I wish him and his family well as they begin the new year together.”
That brings two more coaches to the mix that the team will need, taking the total to six. The Lions also need a strength staff, so multiple hires will be on tap for 2020 for the team.
Lions Defense Terrible in 2019
The shakeup is significant. Detroit had nearly the worst defense in the league by most metrics in 2019. As a whole, the Lions allowed too much yardage, giving up 6,406 yards on the year. As was pointed out, to put up numbers like that, it means the team has been giving up over 400 yards of offense a game.
Additionally, Detroit’s pass defense bottomed out as a league-worst outfit in 2019. The team allowed nearly 300 yards a game through the air, which is a miserable total.
Certainly, injuries helped complicate matters for Detroit’s defense, but that’s not an acceptable excuse for such awful numbers. Expectations were high for the Lions in 2019 given how they finished the season, and now, the team will have some major reconstructing to do in order to remedy this situation for the future. It starts at defensive coordinator.
Paul Pasqualoni in Focus
The decision for Pasqualoni to move on almost goes without saying, and it was always fairly obvious that Pasqualoni will be the most obvious fall guy for the disaster of the 2019 season. The defense might be Patricia’s baby, but to many, Pasqualoni will bear most of the blame for what’s happened the last few seasons. Patricia has a good relationship with Pasqualoni given their past at Syracuse, but it’s possible that upon taking the Detroit job in 2018 and having to rush to put together a staff, Patricia didn’t get a chance at his first choice of coordinator. With more time now and an opening, Patricia should move on and find someone who is a better fit for his team and their future.
Davidson moving on isn’t nearly as big a story as Pasqualoni leaving, and it will be interesting to see who becomes the next members of the staff.