Scott Linehan Hired As Lions Offensive Coordinator

By G Mallory Jr.

Days after hiring Gunther Cunningham as Defensive Coordinator, Jim Schwartz finds his Offensive Coordinator in former St. Louis Rams Head Coach Scott Linehan. Linehan was Head Coach for the Rams for 2 ½ seasons before being fired during the 2008 season. He went just 11-25 during that span. Interim coach Jim Haslett started his tenure with success and instantly found support from players despite being replaced as well during the off-season.

Despite Linehan’s questionable ability to lead a team as Head Coach, he has had success as Offensive Coordinator in the past. He was Offensive Coordinator for the Miami Dolphins in 2005 as well as Offensive Coordinator for the Minnesota Vikings from 2002-2004. The Vikings were one of the more explosive teams offensively with Linehan as coordinator as quarterback Daunte Culpepper amassed gaudy numbers those years. His most impressive year as quarterback was in 2004 under Linehan where he threw for 39 touchdowns and only 11 interceptions. Culpepper; who played for Detroit last year, is likely to have his 2nd year option picked up by Detroit and has a good chance at being the starting quarterback heading into the 2009 season.

Both Linehan and Culpepper have struggled in their careers respectively over the past few years but may have a chance to recreate their successful chemistry of years ago. With the Lions holding the 1st and 20th picks in the draft, many draft analyst project them to take a quarterback with their first pick. The hiring of Linehan may lessen the need for drafting a quarterback or at least not having that quarterback play instantly like rookies Matt Ryan and Joe Flacco last year. The hiring makes Culpepper the likely starter at QB entering training camp.