LIONS INSIDER

Lions promote Tim Walton, hire Marcus Robertson

Posted Feb 13, 2012

The Lions have promoted Tim Walton to Secondary/Third Down Package coach. The team announced the hiring of Marcus Robertson as Defensive Assistant/Secondary coach earlier on Monday.

Walton enters his fourth season with the Lions after joining head coach Jim Schwartz's coaching staff in 2009.

"Tim is a valuable member of our staff and we're increasing the scope of his duties," Schwartz said. "Third down defense is a very important part of football."

Walton will now oversee the team's third down package on defense, an area the Lions ranked third in the NFL last year. They allowed teams to convert on third down only 32.7 (67-of-205) percent of the time. In 2010, the Lions were 20th on third down with a conversion rate of 38.9 (77-198). The improvement of 6.21 percent from 2010 to 2011 was the largest improvement by a defense on third down in the NFL this season.

Schwartz is confident the Lions can continue that trend under Walton.

The team also generated 21 interceptions, which were the fifth-most in the NFL. Walton's secondary collected 16 of those. The Lions were one of just four teams to have four defensive backs register at least three interceptions (CB Chris Houston, 5; CB Eric Wright, 4; CB Alphonso Smith, 3; S Amari Spievey, 3).

The Lions struggled a bit to defend the pass towards the end of the season after starting safety Louis Delmas and starting corner Chris Houston suffered knee injures in Week 12. The Lions finished the season 22nd against the pass.

However, when healthy, the Lions ranked in the top 10 in pass defense the first 11 weeks of the season.

Walton interviewed for the Rams' defensive coordinator for the passing game position last month, but ultimately re-signed with the Lions.

Walton spent 14 previous seasons coaching on the college level before joining the Lions. Walton was a defensive back at Ohio State in the early 1990s.

Robertson, the Titans secondary coach last year, spent 19 seasons with the organization, including 10 as a player. He played two seasons when Schwartz was a defensive assistant and linebackers coach for the Titans. He later worked as an assistant secondary coach when Schwartz was defensive coordinator.

"I have very high regard for Marcus Robertson from our time together at Tennessee," Schwartz said. "He brings vast experience as a player and coach."

Robertson, an all-pro safety in 1993 and 97, replaces defensive assistant Brandon Fisher, who will join his father, Jeff, with the Rams next season.

Over the course of his 12-year NFL career, Robertson played in 157 games (144 starts) with 851 tackles, 24 interceptions and 1.5 sacks.