Scott Linehan: The Detroit Lions New Offensive Coordinator

David McClureCorrespondent IJanuary 24, 2009

Jim Schwartz has told the media that he is taking his time hiring a new staff to rebuild what is possibly the worst franchise in all of sports.

His second hiring, following Gunther Cunningham as defensive coordinator, is Scott Linehan. Linehan will serve as the offensive coordinator and will play a significant role with coaching the quarterbacks.

Linehan is best known for his recent struggles and subsequent firing by the St. Louis Rams early in the 2008 season. Issues in the clubhouse and consecutive losses to open the season had Scott packing his bags.

Like many coordinators turned head coaches, he did not make the transition to head coach successfully, despite taking a 6-10 franchise in 2005 and leading them to an 8-8 record the following year.

Evaluating the hiring is quite easy. It is a hiring that I am very pleased with. Despite the unsuccessful attempt at being a head coach, Linehan's resume is quite impressive.

Much like Cunningham, he has lots of experience and has had perhaps even more success than Cunningham at the coordinator level.

After spending 13 years coaching in the college ranks Linehan made his move to the NFL and became the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach for the Minnesota Vikings.

In his three seasons with the Vikings, he managed to have the offense ranked second, first, and fourth respectively. 

Linehan then left Minnesota and went to help out Nick Saban with his bid to become a career head coach. Linehan took a Miami offense that was ranked 29th overall, 31st in the run, and improve it to 14th overall, 12th in the run.

Although it didn't help Saban stay in the NFL, it did show an impressive ability to jump in and have an immediate impact.

After just one season with Miami, Linehan left and became the head coach of the St. Louis Rams. The Rams had slipped from a Super Bowl-caliber team to a 6-10 club in need of a fresh face.

Although Linehan is known as being an offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach, he attention to the run game is what surprises most.

In St. Louis he helped Stephen Jackson develop into one of the most complete running backs in the NFL. Under Linehan the Rams fed Jackson the ball 346 times and he piled up over 1,500 yards on the ground and over 2,300 total yards.

Everywhere Linehan has been has seen dramatic results on the offensive side of the ball. He has taken bad teams and made them good. He has worked with good players and made them better.

Although his head coaching tenure did not pan out, it is important to remember what he is in Detroit for.

To turn a bad offense into a good one.

To take some young talent and develop it.

To take one of the five quarterbacks and turn him into a franchise-caliber player.

He has done it in the past and could be exactly what the Lions need.