Detroit Lions add Bobby Johnson and Curtis Modkins to offensive coaching staff

Posted Jan 14, 2013

The Detroit Lions also move Tim Lappano to wide receivers coach, Jeremiah Washburn to offensive line coach and announce they will not retain special teams coordinator Danny Crossman.

The coaching carousel has begun in Allen Park.

The Detroit Lions had a number of assistant coaching vacancies after receivers coach Shawn Jefferson, running backs coach Sam Gash and offensive line coach George Yarno were not retained following a 4-12 season.

The team began filling those spots Monday with the hiring of former Jacksonville Jaguars assistant Bobby Johnson to coach their tight ends in 2013 and former Buffalo Bills assistant Curtis Modkins to coach running backs.

Bobby Johnson coached tight ends with the Jaguars last season and was an assistant offensive line coach the previous two seasons with the Bills. He also coached the offensive line at Indiana in 2005-09 where he helped develop NFL linemen Roger Saffold (Rams) and James Brewer (Giants).

With Johnson aboard, the team is moving former tight ends coach Tim Lappano to coach the Detroit Lions wide receivers.

In his more than 30 years of coaching experience at the college and professional levels, Lappano has coached wide receivers, running backs, tight ends, quarterbacks and has been an offensive coordinator. He specifically coached receivers at Wyoming (1996) and Purdue (1997).

The team filled its vacant running backs coach position with the hiring of Curtis Modkins, who will also hold the title of Run Game Coordinator.

For the past three seasons, Modkins was the offensive coordinator/running backs coach for the Buffalo Bills.

During his tenure at Buffalo, Modkins developed a dynamic backfield featuring C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson. The Bills averaged 4.7 yards per carry over those three seasons, the fourth-best rushing average in the NFL.

In 2012, Modkins' offense ranked fourth in rushing average (5.0) and sixth in rushing yards (2,217).

Prior to joining the Bills, he was running backs coach for the Cardinals (2009) and Chiefs (2008).

Danny CrossmanDetroit Lions head coach Jim Schwartz has been looking to get more from his run game since taking over in 2009.

The team also promoted assistant offensive line coach Jeremiah Washburn to offensive line coach. Washburn comes from good coaching stock as the son of veteran NFL defensive line coach Jim Washburn.

Before coming to Detroit, where he's spent the last four seasons as an assistant line coach, Washburn spent six seasons working in the Baltimore Ravens' player personnel department.   

That leaves the Detroit Lions with just their special teams coordinator position open, after the team announced Monday that Danny Crossman would not return for the 2013 season.

Reports have surfaced that Crossman is looking to join the Bills staff and friend Doug Marrone, who was recently named head coach in Buffalo.

Crossman had one left on his contract with the Lions.

The Lions were one of six teams denied permission to talk to Browns special teams coordinator Chris Tabor, according to ESPN.