With most of the coaching staff in place, personnel decisions up next for Lions

Posted Jan 22, 2014

The Lions have been waiting to make some personnel decisions until their coaching staff is in place

Brandon Pettigrew and Nate BurlesonTE Brandon Pettigrew and WR Nate Burleson (Photo: Gavin Smith)

The Detroit Lions have some tough personnel decisions to make in the coming weeks and months on the futures of players like wide receiver Nate Burleson, safety Louis Delmas, tight end Brandon Pettigrew and center Dominic Raiola. Those discussions, however, were put on the backburner as the team tried to get their coaching staff in place.

"What we've done a really good job of in the past is collaborating with the coaching staff, making sure we're all on the same page about how we go forward," general manager Martin Mayhew said. "That's kind of what our plan is with a lot of these decisions, to make sure that Jim (Caldwell), the defensive coaches, the offensive coaches, have an opportunity to watch all the film, evaluate all the tape, then we'll sit down and discuss who we're going to sign in free agency, who we're going to tender, that kind of stuff."

With the hire of offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi on Tuesday, the Lions now have the head coach (Jim Caldwell), assistant head coach (Ron Prince) and defensive coordinator (Teryl Austin).

In fact, most of the staff is now in place, with the exception of a defensive backs, receivers and potentially a quarterback coach – depending on the role of Caldwell and Lombardi in that process – and maybe a quality control coach or two.

The top of the hierarchy is together, which means personnel decisions could start to be addressed in the near future.

Among them are:

  • Will Burleson be back?
  • Will the team try to sign Pettigrew long-term? Could they use the franchise tag on him?
  • Could they use the franchise tag at all?
  • Will Delmas and Raiola be back?

Both Mayhew and Caldwell said they want the coaching staff to be involved in the evaluation of personnel before any final decisions are made.

"I think we need to sit down and talk with the coaching staff and see how we value guys who we have that are free," Mayhew said. "We're still in the process of discussing what we look like on offense, what we look like on defense, and how that all comes together, and that's a pretty important conversation to have.

"I think we need to sit down and thoroughly evaluate each one of our guys. From a personnel standpoint, I have an opinion, Sheldon White has an opinion, Brian Xanders will have an opinion, Shack Harris will have an opinion. Then we want to see what our coordinators says, our head coach says, what our position coach says. Then we'll have a Detroit Lions' opinion on how to move forward with those guys."