LIONS INSIDER

Caldwell specifically wanted a secondary coach as his defensive coordinator

Posted Jan 21, 2014

Jim Caldwell said one key to bringing in Teryl Austin is that he is a secondary coach who "sees everything"

Teryl AustinAP Images

There are a number of qualities Teryl Austin possesses that made him a good fit for Jim Caldwell as his defensive coordinator.

Caldwell identifies Austin as a good teacher and someone who has terrific passion for coaching, but also likes the fact that he’s coached the defensive backfield the last three seasons in Baltimore.

"I’ve always been one to like coordinators who are secondary coaches because of the fact they see everything that’s in front of them," Caldwell said.

"(They) typically know how it all fits together. Not only with pass drops but also run fits and everything. You see everything in front of you where oftentimes a guy upfront may not be aware of every little nuance."

Inviting a secondary coach to head up the Lions defense doesn’t seem like a bad idea considering the Lions have ranked no higher than 14th in pass defense or 16th in overall defense over the last five seasons.

The Ravens finished 12th against the pass last season. They were 17th in 2012 and fourth in 2011.

Last season, Austin’s starting cornerbacks in Baltimore -- Lardarius Webb (2nd) and Jimmy Smith (14th) -- both finished in the top 15 in the NFL in passes defended with 22 and 16, respectively.

"The secondary is also the most complicated position on the defensive side of the ball," Caldwell said. "The offensive line is (the most complicated) on the offensive side with, of course, the quarterback.

"From a defensive standpoint, (Austin has) always dealt with a lot of complexities, so to understand how all those things tie together, I think is very important.”