Could DC Teryl Austin Be One and Done with the Detroit Lions?


There is no doubt about it, Detroit Lions defensive coordinator Teryl Austin deserves much of the credit for the team’s success this season. Currently, the Lions lead the NFL in points against, (17 PPG) and have the best rush defense in the league, (63.8 YPG). In fact, they have the best rush defense the NFL has seen since the 2010 Pittsburgh Steelers.

"“I think he’s (a) huge (part of our success),” safety Glover Quin said in October. “He calls great games. Very smart guy. We go into the games knowing exactly what they want from us, exactly what they expect from us, but they also do a great job in my opinion of letting the players play, and I think they do a great job of, as we call it, loading up our toolbox. Giving us a bunch of options for different things (that happen on the field).”"

Austin, 49, has some of the most creative and dynamic blitz packages that the league has ever seen. He has also coached in Super Bowls as a defensive backs coach with the Seattle Seahawks, Arizona Cardinals and Baltimore Ravens, where he won a championship, and he spent one year on Urban Meyer’s staff as defensive coordinator at Florida. 2014 is however his first-year as a coordinator at the NFL level as well as his first-year with the Lions.

Could Austin be one and done in Detroit though?

The success of the Lions and their stingy defense has drawn the attention of many other teams around the league. There is expected to be as many as nine head coaching vacancies following the season, and according to Fritz Pollard Alliance Foundation chairman John Wooten, Austin is one of the top three minority candidates.

"“We’d be very disappointed if he doesn’t (get an interview). That’s something that we look very hard at, who’s getting the interviews.”"

Wooten said he will be in New York on Wednesday to meet with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and discuss the Fritz Pollard Alliance’s list of top minority coaching candidates, among other matters, with the league.

There are nine total candidates on the list, Austin included.

  1. Todd Bowles, Arizona Cardinals
  2. Perry Fewell, New York Giants
  3. Leslie Frasier, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
  4. Ray Horton, Tennessee Titans
  5. Pep Hamilton, Indianapolis Colts
  6. Hue Jackson, Cincinnati Bengals
  7. Winston Moss, Green Bay Packers
  8. Mike Singletary, (formally of San Francisco 49ers)
  9. Teryl Austin, Detroit Lions

Wooten would not however reveal who else besides Austin is in the top three.

"“We do what we always do and we look at the body of work for the whole year as to how the team is performing under him, under his direction and what they’re doing overall as a team because that is one of the things that we know that the owners look at when they’re doing the hiring,” Wooten said. “As you follow this thing through the years, I’m sure you’ve seen as I have that the top coordinators is the pipeline for getting to be a head coach.”“We as an organization will sit down with the commissioner and his group and submit our list to them and they give us their input as to what they see and what they hear and so forth,” Wooten said. “And from there, each and every team that has openings, this list is given to them so that they can never say what Matt Millen said a few years ago that he couldn’t find anybody.”"

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Some of you may remember back to 2003 when Millen hired Steve Mariucci and failed to interview a minority candidate in the process.

I’m fairly certain that many would agree with me when I say, Lions fans would like to keep Austin around. NFL brass around the league may also decide that they need to see more that one successful year to hire him as a head coach. At this point in time, Austin has declined to comment on his future beyond this season, saying that his focus is on the task at hand — getting the Detroit Lions to their first ever Super Bowl.

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