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One thing you can count on with the Detroit Lions is that they are never, ever boring. Follow the latest news including injuries, roster moves and more here daily from Oakland Press beat writer Paula Pasche. Plus you'll find regular commentary about the team.


More on Martz, Barry, Kwan

The first email I checked this morning contained two words: Who's next? The answer is just as succinct: No one.

Unless someone leaves voluntarily, the Lions are done making coaching changes this offseason. And frankly, that's the right course of action.

I know the numbers. The Lions finished last in the league in defense and had some serious breakdowns on special teams. But Rod Marinelli's best chance to succeed as head coach — and the organization correctly feels he's still the right man for the job — is to keep his defensive and special teams coordinators on staff.

Joe Barry is an energetic coach who had his defense playing over its head early in the season during the Lions' 6-2 start. Nepotism is not an issue here. Barry is a good teacher who believes whole-heartedly in the Tampa 2 system the Lions are married to. He needs better players to make things work, and he'll get some next year. Safety Daniel Bullocks returns from a knee injury and will help the secondary immensely (he and Gerald Alexander are your starters in 2008), and the Lions will make a concerted effort to add talent at every position on that side of the ball.

Like Barry, Stan Kwan is a young coach whose unit's shortcomings (several game-changing coverage mistakes) overshadowed his bright spots (a great tactical plan against Devin Hester in Chicago, squeezing the most out of Aveion Cason as a return man). Kwan's situation is not unlike defensive line coach Joe Cullen, who Marinelli gave a second chance to last year after off-field issues threatened to derail his career. At the end of the day, Kwan is a good teacher and an extension of Marinelli's message (don't ruin field position with stupid penalties).

So how are Kwan and Barry different than Mike Martz, who was fired Wednesday as offensive coordinator but remains one of the game's brightest minds and who Marinelli continues to hold in high esteem? Simple. With Martz and Marinelli, their philosophical differences and Martz's abrasive personality became too much to ignore. The Lions desire more of a ball-control offense, and that's just not in Martz's blood.

Martz will be a head coach in the NFL again, though it wouldn't surprise me if he sat out next season completely or served as a consultant somewhere. As for the Lions, by keeping most of his staff in place (Martz's son, Tim, and defense assistant Fred Reed are the only others out of work) Marinelli has sent a message to his team that tweaks not a complete overhaul are needed to contend for the playoffs in 2008. Only time will tell if he's correct.


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