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Report: Jim Washburn to coach Detroit Lions' defense

  • By Kevin Patra NFL.com
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A reunion will take place in Detroit this offseason.

Former Philadelphia Eagles defensive line coach Jim Washburn will join the Detroit Lions' staff, USA Today's Mike Garafolo reported Monday. Washburn will be an assistant coach, but will not replace defensive line coach Kris Kocurek, according to Garafolo.

Washburn will be reunited with Lions coach Jim Schwartz after the two spent eight seasons together with the Tennessee Titans from 2001 to 2008.

Washburn's son, Jeremiah, also is on the Lions' staff and recently was promoted to offensive line coach after spending four seasons as an offensive line assistant.

The elder Washburn's hire coincides with Schwartz's adamant statement that the Lions' defensive line will continue to use the much-debated Wide 9.

"We are predominantly playing Wide 9, but we play other fronts," he said Monday, according to the Detroit Free Press. "We're not exclusive that way, and every year you want to try to put your players in what best fits their skill level, and guys like Cliff (Avril), (Kyle) Vanden Bosch, (Lawrence Jackson) and Willie (Young), they fit very well into that defense."

Schwartz and Jim Washburn used the technique to great success in Tennessee. But Washburn was dismissed by the Eagles last season after his line underperformed and his relationship with the staff became toxic.

Lions fans have been frustrated with the scheme after watching team after team gash Ndamukong Suh and company with inside runs and wham blocks.

Linebacker Stephen Tulloch, who played with Washburn in Tennessee, was ecstatic when learning about the hire Tuesday morning on WDFN-AM.

"Jim Washburn will make this defense that much better ... he's a legend," he said.

Lions fans hope he's right.

Follow Kevin Patra on Twitter @kpatra.

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