| Detroit Free Press
Detroit Lions get Christmas gifts; is win over Tom Brady in their stocking?
Free Press sports writers Dave Birkett and Carlos Monarrez hand out gifts for the Detroit Lions, and predict the game vs. the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Carlos Monarrez and Dave Birkett, Detroit Free Press
The Detroit Lions could be without four assistant coaches for Saturday’s game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers due to COVID-19 protocols: Defensive coordinator Cory Undlin and position coaches Bo Davis (defensive line), Ty McKenzie (linebackers) and Steve Gregory (defensive backs).
MEET THE GM CANDIDATE: Pros and cons of ex-Falcons GM Thomas Dimitroff
Undlin and his staff still are putting together the Lions’ defensive game plan, in conjunction with interim head coach Darrell Bevell, but if none is allowed at Ford Field on Saturday, the Lions will have to navigate their second-to-last game of the season with an inexperienced group of defensive assistants, none of whom has called plays before.
Here’s a look at the three Lions’ defensive assistants currently allowed to be around the team:
Position: Defensive quality control assistant
Background: Thomas is the most experienced of the Lions’ young defensive assistants. He is in his second season as a quality control assistant, and served in the same role with the Philadelphia Eagles — where he worked with Undlin — in 2015.
Quality control assistants typically do a lot of the game-plan prep work, breaking down film and studying tendencies of opposing players and coaches. Thomas has worked as a position coach before. In six years over two stints at Princeton, he coached inside linebackers and was the Tigers’ special teams coordinator.
He played defensive back in college, at the State University of New York at Buffalo.
Position: Assistant defensive backs coach
Background: Carter has worked closely with the Lions’ secondary this fall, in his first season in his Detroit, which makes sense given his playing background. He spent parts of eight seasons with five different teams, and saw his most extensive action with the Denver Broncos in the 2012-13 seasons.
A standout player at Florida State, Carter started his coaching career in the SEC, where he completed internships at Mississippi State, Georgia and Tennessee. He did a coaching fellowship with the then-Oakland Raiders in 2018, where he helped on the defensive side of the ball, and spent last season as cornerbacks coach at Jacksonville University.
Position: William Clay Ford Minority Coaching Assistantship
Background: Warren has the most recognizable name of the Lions’ available defensive assistants from his 10-year NFL playing career. He won two Super Bowls with the New England Patriots and has 20.5 career sacks on his resume.
Warren has worked closely with the Lions’ defensive line this fall, but he is a relative newcomer to the coaching ranks. He was formally out of the NFL from 2013-19, when he joined Matt Patricia’s staff as a volunteer assistant.