Lions to Split With Veteran Defensive Position Coach: Report

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The Detroit Lions have been keeping things very status quo as they push into the offseason, but the team is looking at making one tweak to their coaching staff for 2022.

On the defensive side of the ball, the Lions will reportedly by moving on from a position coach, which means a new teaching position will be set to open on staff ahead of the 2022 season.

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According to Detroit News and writer Justin Rogers, the Lions are moving on from linebacker coach Mark DeLeone. Last season, DeLeone coached inside linebackers for the team and it was his first year with the staff. As Rogers pointed out in his article breaking the story, no reason for the departure was provided thus far.

Detroit’s staff didn’t see much turnover this offseason, and the DeLeone move is only the second case of the team splitting with one of their 2021 coaches. Typically, a high degree of turnover is not desirable for a staff, so the Lions have done a decent job overall keeping coaches intact.

Lions Staff Changes Not Deep for 2022

So far this offseason, the Lions have been in great shape in terms of their staff. The team managed to avoid losing stud defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn to becoming a head coach. Glenn interviewed in Denver and New Orleans before it was revealed that he would be staying put for at least another year. The Lions then were able to dodge losing prized defensive backs coach Aubrey Pleasant to rival Minnesota for their defensive coordinator role. Pleasant has also interviewed for the Saints defensive coordinator role, so the Lions will have to wait and hope they can retain him like they have Glenn.

On the offensive side of the ball, the Lions parted ways with offensive coordinator Anthony Lynn in what was an amicable split. Instead of looking outside the home, the Lions promoted tight ends coach Ben Johnson from within, a move that was praised by many including Cincinnati coach Zac Taylor after it was revealed.

Now, all eyes will be on seeing what the Lions decide to do at linebacker coach.

DeLeone’s Coaching Biography

A coaching lifer, DeLeone is just 34 but has tons of experience packed into the early part of his career. After starting in Iowa as a defensive student assistant for 2007 and 2008, he went to New Hampshire, Florida and Temple in a variety of roles learning the trade. In 2012, he got his first break into the league as a defensive assistant for the New York Jets. From 2013-2015, he was a quality control coach on defense with Kansas City, then getting the title of assistant linebackers coach from 2016-2017 with the Chiefs. He coaches inside linebackers in Kansas City in 2018, then went to Chicago to join Matt Nagy as the team’s inside linebackers coach from 2019 and 2020.

Last year, the Lions tapped DeLeone to lead their inside linebacker group, and he oversaw a position on the team that struggled a bunch. Detroit’s linebacker group played up and down most of the season, with names like Alex Anzalone, Derrick Barnes and Jalen Reeves-Maybin playing a starring role this year.

DeLeone has worked with several solid players such as Reggie Ragland, Roquan Smith, Justin Houston, Derrick Johnson and others during his career. He had a stiff challenge in Detroit, where the team’s linebacking group struggled and the team will have to continue to re-make it this offseason.

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