The Coaching Carousel: NFC North

Michael WhooleySenior Writer IApril 2, 2009

DETROIT , MI - JANUARY 16:  Jim Schwartz head coach of the Detroit Lions talks during a press conference after being introduced on January 16, 2009 at Ford Field in Detroit, Michigan.  (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

Every offseason, fantasy owners, and football fans in general, tune in to find out which free agents are heading where. Signings like T.O. heading to the Buffalo Bills and TJ Houshmandzadeh's journey to the Northwest, where he'll join the Seattle Seahawks, are analyzed and scrutinized by everyone from ESPN to the guy sitting in the cubicle next to you as everyone attempts to figure out how these new additions will fit in in their new systems.

Strangely enough though, the coaching changes that occur each and every offseason garner much less attention despite these holding much more significance. After all, the coaches are the ones devising the systems that guys like T.O. and Housh will be playing in.

But, don't worry, the Bruno Boys, as usual, have you covered as we take a look at the Coaching Carousel of the NFL, breaking down all the important coaching changes division by division. This stop, the NFC North.

Detroit Lions' Head Coach

Out: Rod Marinelli
In: Jim Schwartz

The NFL, like all professional sports, is all about the W's. Thus, the inability to tally a mark in the win column over the course of a 16 game season is a pretty good way to ensure a pink slip come season's end.

Don't believe us, just ask Rod Marinelli. Marinelli's masterful march to a record breaking 0-16 season as the head coach of the Detroit Lions quickly had the coach looking for work this offseason. Again, not much of a surprise.

What is some what of a surprise is who the Lions brought in in Marinelli's place—former Tennessee Titans defensive coordinator, Jim Schwartz.

Schwartz, like Marinelli before him, arrives in Detroit with no previous head coaching experience. That will make things a little bit difficult on fantasy owners when it comes to evaluating the potential of players like Calvin Johnson and Kevin Smith heading into 2009.

There's just no track record to base projections on. Still, by looking at the player personnel that Schwartz will have to work with, we can come to a pretty solid hypothesis as to what the Lions game plan will be.

As much as Schwartz may like to mimic his old boss, Jeff Fisher's, game plan of putting together a solid ground game to go along with a sturdy defense, it's just not going to work in Detroit.

After all, while Tennessee limited opponents to just 14.6 points per game last season, the Lions were giving up 32.3. To get W's, the Lions will have to put up points, which means Schwartz and new offensive coordinator, Scott Linehan, will look to throw the ball often. With Megatron's unreal playmaking ability and Kevin Smith's ability to catch screen passes, that may not be a bad thing.


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