Could the Lions bring back their former special teams coach?
Now that the Detroit Lions have filled their offensive coordinator position, attention turns to Detroit’s special teams coordinator job. Midseason, the Lions fired Joe Marciano after a series of games in which the Lions struggled to keep penalty flags off the field during special teams plays.
At the time, the Lions gave assistant special teams coach Devin Fitzsimmons all of the duties that Marciano had, but now that the season is over, Detroit may be looking to find another talented mind to add to the special teams coaching squad. According to Josh Henschke of 247 Sports, Detroit—along with a couple other NFC North teams—is looking to add a familiar name:
I’m hearing that three NFC North teams have reached out to John Bonamego to show interest in joining their staff: Packers, Vikings and Lions.— Josh Henschke (@JoshHenschke) January 19, 2019
John Bonamego has 15 years of special teams coaching in the NFL, including two years with the Detroit Lions from 2013-14. That job vaulted him into the head coaching role at nearby Central Michigan University. There he had moderate success, leading the Chippewas to two winning seasons in his first three years. However, in 2018, CMU went 1-11, the worst season in university history, and Bonamego was let go.
A reuniting would make a lot of sense in Detroit. Bonamego is a local, having gone to high school in Michigan and worked within the state for the past six year. Although many of the people that employed him back in 2013 are no longer with the franchise, there are plenty of people in that building who know what Bonamego is capable of.
In his two years in Detroit, the Lions kick and punt return averages were all in the top half of the league, and he oversaw the growth of punter Sam Martin.
It would seem the Lions would have the edge up on the Vikings and Packers if they are truly interested in bringing back Bonamego. We’ll see if that’s enough to land the long-time special teams coach.