Dan Campbell Could Reportedly Target Stud Assistant for Lions’ Offense

Mike Kafka

Getty Mike Kafka warms up with the Chiefs quarterbacks before a playoff game.

The Detroit Lions have reportedly all but finalized a deal with Dan Campbell to be the team’s next head coach, so now talk will turn to who Campbell could choose to bring with him in coordinator roles in the weeks ahead.

Upon Detroit honing in on Campbell to be their next coach, many have praised his ability to form connections across the league. According to the rumor mill, a strong hire might be coming down the pipe for offensive coordinator in the form of Kansas City Chiefs passing game coordinator Mike Kafka.

According to Adam Caplan on Inside Birds Podcast, Kafka could be a top target for Campbell as it relates to the Lions’ offensive coordinator job. Caplan is also a former NFL insider for ESPN, so he has solid information from around the league.

Caplan said on the broadcast near the 21:00 mark:

“Dan Campbell is going to be the Lions head coach, so now that he can negotiate with them that’s going to happen. Mike Kafka is a potential OC for him. From what I’m hearing, he’s a potential OC. I am sure Dan’s got his own list, but I’ve checked in and Kafka’s a possibly. He’s not calling plays in Kansas City, so he would certainly be calling plays if he became the Lions OC. So we’ll see what happens there. Not only is he their passing game coordinator, he and Andy (Reid) are the pass game developers on that team.”

The Philadelphia Eagles have been said to be considering Kafka for their head coach role, but as of early this week, that seems to have hit the skids and Kafka could be out according to a report. If that is indeed the case, the Lions could try and poach him once Campbell officially takes over.

Obviously, Kafka is an intriguing name for the Lions given what he’s done in Kansas City. He’s worked as the team’s passing game coordinator and could be seen as a rising star in the coaching ranks. A former quarterback himself that was a journeyman in the league, Kafka has risen the NFL rankings quick after joining the Chiefs as a quality control coach in 2017, then rising to the role of quarterback coach and finally passing game coordinator.

Other Big Names Could Be on Dan Campbell’s Assistant Radar

As Campbell thinks about taking the Lions job and sets out on crafting a staff, some interesting names could rise to the forefront in terms of the hiring process. Already, Saints’ defensive assistants Aaron Glenn and Ryan Nielsen are rumored to be in the mix for potential defensive coordinator jobs in addition to Kris Richard, who worked with Seattle and most recently Dallas. This is according to Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press.

Richard has experience and a Super Bowl from his time with the Seahawks, while Glenn is a potential up and coming future coach, having just interviewed for the New York Jets’ job. Nielsen has also overseen the development of a solid defensive line in New Orleans. Any of these names would certainly be interesting on the defensive side of things, and could lend to the notion that the Lions’ new boss could bring some interesting hires along with him on both sides of the ball.

Dan Campbell’s Staff With Lions Will Be Vital

If there’s one thing that could help Campbell in a big way, it’s the ability to hire a major staff. Detroit’s position coaches under Matt Patricia were not that impressive, so having Campbell bring some star power to the position could be a good way to get the Lions turned around from a play and culture standpoint. Any of these potential options would be interesting for the Lions and could give Campbell the type of fresh blood he needs in order to flip the culture with the team.

If Kafka comes into the mix, it would be interesting to see what he could do with Detroit’s personnel.

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