LIONS INSIDER

TWENTYMAN: New coach will be wise to keep assistants Jim and Jeremiah Washburn

Posted Jan 2, 2014

The new head coach will have final say on his coaching staff, but he'd be wise to keep assistants Jim and Jeremiah Washburn

There are a lot of uncertainties concerning to the remains of Jim Schwartz's coaching staff following his firing on Monday.

The Lions also let go offensive coordinator Scott Linehan and receivers coach Tim Lappano, but have retained the rest of the staff thus far.

That will change when a few contracts are up in January. And most certainly will be amended when a new head coach is hired.

"That will be the coach’s final decision," general manager Martin Mayhew said about the final determinations on the coaching staff. "There are some recommendations that we will make to the coach in terms of knowing these guys and who we feel really strongly about, but it will be up to the new head coach."

Two names the front office is likely to lobby for, and quite frankly should lobby for, are the father-son duo of Jim Washburn and Jeremiah Washburn.

In his first season as the offensive line coach, Washburn helped take three new starters, two of whom were rookies, and gelled them nicely with veterans Rob Sims and Dominic Raiola.

The unit gave up the second-fewest sacks in the NFL (23) and paved the way for the team’s first 1,000-yard rusher since 2004 in Reggie Bush (1,006).

"He’s an absolute asset to this team," Sims said of Jeremiah. "The things we’ve been able to do in a short time are what you need in the NFL.

"Jeremiah is six years older than me, but he commands my attention. He commands Dominic’s attention. He’s only a year older than Dominic. He’s our coach, no more no less."

The elder Washburn joined Kris Kocurek to head up the defensive line and got the most out of that unit. Defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh had a Pro Bowl season and Nick Fairley was voted a Pro Bowl alternate for the first time in his career. Fairley finished with six sacks, two forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries and a touchdown.

Defensive end Ziggy Ansah led all rookies with eight sacks and fellow defensive end Willie Young had career highs in tackles (47), sacks (3) and passes defended (5) having to play a bigger role than expected after Jason Jones went down with injury early in the year.

The greatest attribute a coach can have is getting the best out of his players. Both Washburn’s did that in 2013.