After a tough loss to the division rival Minnesota Vikings on the road Sunday, the Lions announced Monday that they relieved Joe Marciano of his duties as special teams coordinator.
“Tonight I spoke to Joe and informed him of my decision to relieve him of his responsibilities with our team," head coach Matt Patricia said in a statement. "I appreciate Joe’s leadership of our special teams units over the last three and a half seasons and have great respect for his many years of service as a coach in the National Football League. On behalf of our team and the entire coaching staff, I want to personally thank Joe for his commitment to the Detroit Lions and wish him and his family the best moving forward.”
Patricia told reporters Tuesday that assistant special teams coordinator Devin Fitzsimmons will take over the majority of the duties on special teams moving forward, but it will be a group effort with multiple coaches involved.
“It’s never really an easy decision when you have to try and make a move in the middle of the season,” Patricia said. “But just kind of taking a look at the evaluation and everything so far and what we’ve done so far in the season and moving forward, I just thought it was the best thing for the team right now to make that move and kind of go forward without Joe.”
In addition to the coaching staff change, the Lions also made some adjustments to the roster. On Tuesday, the team signed free agents wide receiver Bruce Ellington and running back Zach Zenner.
Ellington has experience in the slot, but Patricia said they're still working to determine what his role will be with the Lions.
“When you get a player that you’ve seen maybe on tape or talked with people about that we think has some attributes that we like, or a skillset that we like and we want to take a look at, that’s certainly the idea," Patricia said.
“You want to get him out at practice and put him in a couple different situations and evaluate it and go from there. We still have to take those opportunities to have players that we think maybe have a skillset that we like or we want to take a look at and put them into practice and try to evaluate him as fast as possible.”
CATCHING UP WITH CHICAGO
The Lions have their second division matchup in a row this weekend as they head to Chicago to take on the division-leading Bears.
Like the Lions, the Bears have a new head coach this year in Matt Nagy. Nagy is happy with how his team has performed so far, but knows there's still a lot of football to be played.
“I think it’s been an interesting start of the year, as always for most teams, but we're only halfway through the season,” Nagy said in a conference-call interview with the Detroit media. “There is just so much ball left.
“We’ve won in different ways, and we’ve lost in different ways. I think we’ve kind of learned different ways to do it. When you lose, you try to figure out why and how to not let it happen again. When you win, you figure out why and how you can always improve and be better.
“I like where we’re at, but we understand we have a long way to go.”
For Mike O'Hara's full scouting report on the Bears, click here.
View photos from Detroit Lions practice on Thursday, Nov. 8, 2018.
OTHER NOTEWORTHY ITEMS
- Click here for the full Lions-Bears injury report and game designations.
- Catch up on all the news from Jim Bob Cooter and Paul Pasqualoni's Tuesday media sessions.
- What led to the Lions giving up 10 sacks to the Vikings? Tim Twentyman covers that and more in the latest Key Questions.
- Watch Lions players congratulate long snapper Don Muhlbach on his 220th career game.