Coaches

Scott Linehan
Offensive Coordinator

Biography

Linehan begins his fifth season as the Lions offensive coordinator after joining the club in 2009. He is now entering his 12th season as an NFL coach, going on 24 years of coaching experience.

LIONS COACHING HIGHLIGHTS: During his tenure with the Lions, Linehan has coordinated some of the most prolific offenses in franchise history, producing several team and individual record-breaking performances. These prolific offenses have also translated as some of the most productive units in the NFL under Linehan.

  • Over the past three seasons (2010-12), Detroit ranks third in total offense with 381.2 yards per game, third in passing offense (282.3 yards/game), fourth in first downs per game (21.6) and second in completions per game (26.1). The Lions rank sixth in scoring with 25.2 points per game and are one of just six teams averaging 25-plus points per game from 2010-12. Detroit’s 126 offensive touchdowns also rank sixth during that three-year span.
  • In the Red Zone, the Lions offense ranks third with a 62.6-percent scoring efficiency (99 TDs, 158 possessions) over the past three years.
  • Since the beginning of 2011, the Lions offense, behind its passing attack, has moved into the upper echelon of the League’s productive offenses. Over the past two years, Lions quarterbacks threw for 10,210 yards, the second-most (gross) passing yards over a two-year span in NFL history. Detroit’s 9,741 net passing yards ranks fifth all-time in NFL history over a two-year stretch, and the Lions are one of only five teams to net over 9,700 passing yards over two years.
  • From 2011-12, The Lions rank third in total offense with 402.4 yards per game (one of only three teams with 400-plus yards per game average), third in passing offense (304.4) third in first downs per game (22.8) and fourth in points per game (26.4).
  • Detroit’s 61.3 Red Zone efficiency (68 TDs, 111 possessions) ranks fourth in the NFL over the past two years

2012

  • Last season, Detroit’s offense established new franchise standards while breaking team records in total yards (6,540), yards per game (408.8) and net passing yards (4,927). The Lions finished third in the NFL in total offense and second in passing offense.
  • The team’s third overall ranking in total offense in 2012 was the Lions’ highest since it finished second in the NFL in 1997. By ranking second in passing offense, it is tied for the highest the team has reached since it was second in the NFL in 1995.
  • Three of the franchise’s top eight single-game bests for total offense occurred under Linehan’s guidance in 2012 (583, 9/23 at Tennessee; 525, 11/22 vs. Houston; 522, 12/22 vs. Atlanta).
  • Detroit’s Red Zone offense was among the best in the League in 2012 as the Lions finished the season ranked fifth in Red Zone offense (83.6 pct), ninth in Red Zone points (271) and now rank third in Red Zone efficiency (88.6 pct) since 2010.
  • Linehan’s continued development of QB Matthew Stafford was evident once again in 2012 as Stafford (4,967) finished just 33 yards shy of becoming only the second quarterback in NFL history to throw for 5,000 yards in back-to-back seasons.
  • Stafford finished the season 435-of-727 (59.8 pct) for 4,967 yards, 20 touchdowns and 17 interceptions. In only four years with the team, Stafford is now the Lions career leader in pass completions (1,114), and ranks second in career passing yards (12,807) and is tied for second in career passing touchdowns (80).
  • Stafford’s two-year tally in passing yards under Linehan (10,005) ranks third in the NFL behind only Drew Brees (10,653) and Tom Brady (10,062).
  • Despite injuries to his receiving corps across the board, Linehan’s offense allowed WR Calvin Johnson to record one of the most prolific seasons for a wide receiver in NFL history. With 122 receptions for 1,964 yards and five touchdowns, Johnson broke the single-season record for receiving yards set by Hall of Fame WR Jerry Rice in 1995.
  • Johnson led every League category on the receiving end, including receptions (122), receiving yards (1,964), 25+-yard receptions (21) and 100-yard receiving games (11). His 11 100-yard receiving games in 2012 tied WR Michael Irvin (1995) for the most 100-yard receiving games during a season in NFL history.
  • Johnson was also named the NFC Offensive Player of the Month for November, the first of his career and the first Lions offensive player to earn the honor since Hall of Fame RB Barry Sanders (December 1997).
  • After compiling only nine rushing touchdowns in 2011, Linehan’s ground attack, led by second-year RB Mikel Leshoure and RB Joique Bell, recorded 17 rushing touchdowns last season. Seventeen rushing touchdowns is the highest output by the Lions since they had 15 in 2000, and Leshoure’s nine touchdowns is the most by any Lions rusher since James Stewart had 10 in 2000.

2011

  • The Lions’ 474 points scored during the 2011 regular season are the most in team history, breaking the team record (436) set in 1995.
  • Linehan’s work with Stafford began to show dividends in 2011 as he set franchise passing records for passing yards (5,038), touchdowns (41). Stafford also established the team’s all-time best single-season completion percentage (63.5) and passer rating (97.2). Based on NFL qualifier of minimum 244 attempts.
  • Stafford’s numbers also ranked among the best in NFL history: 4th quarterback to throw for more than 5,000 yards in a single season; 5th most yards (5,038); 7th most touchdowns (41); 5th most completions (421) and 3rd most attempts (663).
  • Stafford was one of three NFL quarterbacks, along with Saints QB Drew Brees and Patriots QB Tom Brady, to finish 2011 in the top five of all six major passing categories: 3rd in yards (5,038); 3rd in touchdown passes (41); 5th in quarterback rating (97.2): 5th in completion-percentage (63.5); 1st in attempts (663); 2nd in completions (421).

 

 

2010

  • In 2010, the Lions were one of just seven teams to improve at least nine positions in total offense from 2009, as they went from 26th to 17th. In the passing game, they were one of just three teams to improve their ranking by nine spots (21 in 2009 to 12 in 2010).
  • Detroit had the third-most improved scoring offense in the NFL, scoring 100 more points than they did in 2009, which accounted for an average of 6.3 more points per game.
  • The Lions had the fourth-most improved offense in the NFL in 2010, gaining 639 more yards than they did in 2009 (39.9 more yards per game).
  • The Detroit offense was the third-most improved unit in Red Zone touchdowns with 12 more touchdowns in 2010 than 2009. That equates to a 17.2-percent difference, which made the Lions’ offense the second-most improved unit in Red Zone touchdown percentage as well.
  • Detroit had the fifth-highest increase of Red Zone possessions in the League. The Lions had 45 red zone possessions in 2010 compared to 36 in 2009.

In 2009, his first season directing the Lions offense, Linehan focused on implementing a versatile offensive attack along with the maturation of the team’s young, talented offensive playmakers.

Working directly with the team’s quarterbacks, Linehan was instrumental in the growth of rookie quarterback Matthew Stafford, who became one of the youngest players to ever start the season at quarterback in the NFL. Stafford steadily progressed with each outing until injuries slowed him down towards the end of the year. Stafford finished the season ranking near the top of almost every franchise rookie passing record, including first in touchdown passes (13) and second in yards (2,267), completions (201) and completion percentage (54.1) despite starting only 10 games.

Linehan joined the Lions coaching staff after spending three seasons (2006-08) as the head coach of the St. Louis Rams.

As a first-time NFL head coach, Linehan quickly put his stamp on the Rams in 2006 via the ground game, giving the ball to RB Steven Jackson 346 times in 2006 – the most by a St. Louis player in 20 seasons. Jackson finished the year with 1,528 rushing yards (3rd, NFC), 105 first downs (1st, NFC) and 2,334 all-purpose yards (1st, NFL), earning his first-career Pro Bowl appearance. Jackson averaged 21.0 carries per game over Linehan’s three-year span with the Rams compared with 16.9 carries per game in 2005 and established himself as one of the NFL’s big running threats.

Other Rams saw career bests under Linehan. QB Marc Bulger passed for a career-best 4,301 yards in 2006, setting franchise records with a 1.4 interception percentage and 588 passing attempts. His 370 completions for 24 touchdowns were also second in Rams’ history. That season, WR Torry Holt and WR Isaac Bruce finished with 1,188 and 1,098 yards, respectively, combining for 167 pass receptions.

In addition to his three seasons as an NFL head coach, Linehan brings four years of league experience as an offensive coordinator. He spent the 2005 season with the Miami Dolphins, improving the team’s total offense from 4,960 yards (29th, NFL) in 2004 to 5,198 yards (14th, NFL) in 2005 and bettering the run game from 402 rush attempts (31st, NFL) in 2004 to 444 (12th, NFL) in 2005.

That year, the Dolphins’ two primary running backs – Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams – combined for 1,650 rushing yards and 10 rushing touchdowns. WR Chris Chambers earned his first-career Pro Bowl appearance under Linehan, finishing with 82 catches for 1,118 yards and 11 touchdowns, marking his only 1,000-yard season.

Linehan broke into the league as an offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach with the Minnesota Vikings in 2002, helping the franchise to some of its best offensive seasons to date, ranking second, first and fourth from 2002-04. During his tenure, the Vikings compiled a franchise-best 36 consecutive games of 300-yards-or-more of total offense (2002-04) and, in 2004, compiled a franchise-best five games of 400-yards-or more of total offense.

In Vikings history, his offenses also rank first and second in total yards (6,339 yards, 2004; 6,294 yards, 2003), first and second in first downs (351, 2004; 350, 2002), second and third in touchdowns (51, 2003; 50, 2004), second in points (416, 2003), first in passing first downs (225, 2004), first in rushing touchdowns (26, 2002) and second and third in rushing yards (2,507 yards, 2002; 2,343 yards, 2003).

Minnesota’s top offensive players had some of their best years under Linehan, including QB Daunte Culpepper and WR Randy Moss, who each had career years while he was with the Vikings. Moss became the team’s featured ‘big man’ in 2002 after the departure of WR Cris Carter, starting 45 games over that span and garnering two Pro Bowl selections (2002, 2003) under Linehan.

Moss finished with 106 catches for 1,347 yards and seven touchdowns in 2002 while his 111 receptions for 1,632 yards in 2003 remain personal bests. He also tied a career high in 2003 with 17 touchdowns, a personal best he held until he brought in 23 in 2007 with New England.

Culpepper also had some of his best seasons with Linehan calling the plays, including a career year in 2004. That year, his second Pro Bowl season, Culpepper finished with a passer rating of 110.9 for the fourth-highest in NFL history and his 69.2 completion percentage (379-of-548), league-leading 4,717 passing yards, 8.6 yards per play average and 39 touchdowns still mark career bests.

Linehan was able to effectively utilize the Culpepper-Moss tandem over his three seasons with the Vikings, bettering the team’s total points to 390, 416 and 405, respectively, after Minnesota scored 290 points in 2001. He maintained the team’s solid performance through the air, as the offense ranked 9th, 4th and 2nd, respectively, throughout his three seasons.

But even with the dynamic passing game, Linehan also made significant improvements to the team’s running game. Prior to his arrival in 2001, the Vikings finished 25th in the league with 376 rushing plays for 1,609 yards (4.3 average). In 2002, Linehan helped the Vikings to the league’s top ground game, finishing with 473 rushing plays for 2,507 yards (5.3 average).

That year, Minnesota’s running game was led by Michael Bennett, who earned his first Pro Bowl selection following the 2002 season. He finished the year 11th in the NFL in rushing with a career-best 1,296 yards – his only 1,000-yard performance to date – on 255 attempts. In 2003, Linehan utilized a trio of runners – Moe Williams, Onterio Smith and Bennett – to finish third in the league in rushing with 493 rushing plays for 2,343 attempts.

Linehan coached collegiately for 13 years on teams that played in seven bowl games and won five conference titles: one Pac-10, two Conference USA and two Big Sky. Five of Linehan’s quarterbacks were drafted by NFL teams: Louisville’s Chris Redman and Dave Ragone, Washington’s Brock Huard and Marques Tuiasosopo and Idaho’s Doug Nussmeier.

He was the offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach at Louisville from 1999-2001, coaching the team to three bowl games and becoming the first Conference USA team to win consecutive league championships. A Louisville quarterback earned Conference USA Player of the Year honors in each of Linehan’s three seasons.

Prior to his time in Louisville, Linehan spent five years at the University of Washington (1994-98), advancing to four bowl games and winning the 1995 Pac-10 title. He also spent four total seasons at Idaho, his alma mater, as the offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach (1992-93) and as the wide receivers coach (1989-90) and Linehan spent one season at Nevada-Las Vegas (1991) as the quarterbacks coach. While a coordinator with Idaho in 1993, the Vandals led the nation in scoring (47.5 points per game) and total offense (532 yards per game).

Linehan was a quarterback for Dennis Erickson’s Idaho Vandals from 1982-86, winning the Big Sky Championship in 1985 and earning Division I-AA playoff appearances in three straight seasons (1984-86). He signed as a rookie free agent with the Dallas Cowboys in 1987, but a shoulder injury ended his playing career.

Born in Sunnyside, Wash., Linehan and his wife, Kristen, have three sons: Matthew, Michael and Marcus. Linehan’s oldest son, Matthew, signed to join the University of Idaho football program in the fall of 2012.

LINEHAN’S BACKGROUND

Detroit Lions............................................................................... 2009-

Offensive Coordinator.................................................................. 2009-

St. Louis Rams....................................................................... 2006-08

Head Coach.............................................................................. 2006-08

Miami Dolphins............................................................................. 2005

Offensive Coordinator.................................................................... 2005

Minnesota Vikings.................................................................. 2002-04

Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks....................................... 2002-04

Louisville............................................................................. 1999-2001

Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks................................... 1999-2001

Washington............................................................................. 1994-98

Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks............................................ 1998

Offensive Coordinator/Wide Receivers.................................... 1996-97

Wide Receivers........................................................................ 1994-95

Idaho........................................................................................ 1992-93

Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks....................................... 1992-93

UNLV............................................................................................. 1991

Quarterbacks................................................................................. 1991

Idaho........................................................................................ 1989-90

Wide Receivers........................................................................ 1989-90

Recent Articles

Recent Videos

  • Schwartz and Linehan on Joique Bell

    (1:09) Posted Dec 26, 2013

    Head coach Jim Schwartz and offensive coordinator Scott Linehan on the play of RB Joique Bell, his ability to be a starter in the league and his versatility.

  • Scott Linehan on getting better as a team

    (1:06) Posted Dec 19, 2013

    Offensive coordinator Scott Linehan on protecting the ball, playing aggressively and the play of QB Matthew Stafford.

  • Scott Linehan on the offensive line

    (0:53) Posted Dec 13, 2013

    Offensive coordinator Scott Linehan on Riley Reiff playing like a veteran and the consistency and run blocking of the line as a whole.

  • Scott Linehan on executing effectively

    (1:38) Posted Dec 5, 2013

    Offensive coordinator Scott Linehan on the offense executing effectively, the offensive line playing extremely well and being able to run the ball to finish out games.

  • Scott Linehan on Larry Warford

    (0:53) Posted Nov 21, 2013

    Offensive coordinator Scott Linehan on Larry Warford playing at a high level, his consistency and ability to make plays up field.