Gunther Cunningham In As Lions Defensive Coordinator


By PFC Writer G Mallory Jr.

New Lions Head Coach Jim Schwartz is piecing together his staff and has started by hiring former Chiefs Defensive Coordinator Gunther Cunningham to coordinate the Lions defense. With Detroit’s Head Coach (Jim Schwartz), General Manager (Martin Mayhew), and Executive Vice President (Tom Lewand), all stepping into their first full season in their new roles, Cunningham brings experience. Cunningham has over 25 years of NFL Coaching experience.

Cunningham also worked with Schwartz in Tennessee as Linebacker’s coach. The Lions seem to be emphasizing the need for continuity on the coaching staff and front office and this move goes along those lines. In 2008, the Kansas City Chiefs defense under Cunningham ranked 31st in the NFL ahead of only Detroit. Many point to the loss of All-Pro Defensive End Jared Allen (now playing for Minnesota Vikings) as to a key factor to the Chiefs struggles on defense. In 2007 with Allen, Cunningham’s defense ranked 14th in the NFL. The Lions have been dead last the past two years.

There is obviously a need for both coaching and talent, which is where the draft and free agency will be key for the Lions. Amongst others, the Lions may be suitors for free agent defensive players such as Albert Haynesworth (who played for Schwartz), Julius Peppers, and Chris McCalister. The Lions; with 5 draft picks in the first 3 rounds, have as draft targets players such as linebackers Aaron Curry, James Laurinaitis, and Rey Maualuga, Defensive Ends Brian Orakpo, Aaron Maybin, and Everette Brown and cornerbacks Malcolm Jenkins and Vontae Davis amongst others. The Lions are still in search to fill other coaching staff members including Offensive Coordinator and Special Teams coach.