Lions’ Aidan Hutchinson Rookie of Year finalist, Dan Campbell misses cut for Coach of Year

Detroit Free Press

Detroit Lions defensive end Aidan Hutchinson is one of three finalists for NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year, but Dan Campbell did not make the cut in Coach of the Year voting.

The NFL announced finalists for its eight major end-of-season awards Wednesday via Associated Press voting.

Campbell generated Coach of the Year consideration after leading the Lions to a 9-8 record this season, but was not one of three finalists for the award after the Lions missed the playoffs. The Lions won eight of their final 10 games after a 1-6 start to finish with their first winning record since 2017.

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Each Coach of the Year finalist — Brian Daboll of the New York Giants, Doug Pederson of the Jacksonville Jaguars and Kyle Shanahan of the San Francisco 49ers — led their teams to the postseason. The Lions beat the Giants and Jaguars.

In an appearance on ESPN’s ManningCast of the Dallas Cowboys-Tampa Bay Buccaneers playoff game in mid-January, Campbell said there were coaches more deserving of the award.

“It would absolutely be an honor, because there are some really good coaches that deserve that,” Campbell said. “To me, better ones out there than me by the job they did this year. Daboll would be one of those, he just did a heck of a job. Doug Pederson, I mean I could go down the list there.”

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Hutchinson, the No. 2 pick of last April’s NFL draft, led all NFL rookies with 9½ sacks and finished with 52 tackles and three interceptions. He won two Defensive Rookie of the Month awards, in November and December/January, but is considered a longshot to win Defensive Rookie of the Year.

New York Jets cornerback Sauce Gardner, a Detroit King product and a first-team All-Pro, is the favorite for the award after leading the NFL with 20 passes defensed, and Seattle Seahawks cornerback Tariq Woolen is the other finalist.

Ndamukong Suh was the last Lion to win Rookie of the Year in 2010.

The nationwide panel of 50 sports writers who cover the league ranked their top five picks for MVP and top three for every other award. Winners will be announced at the 12th annual NFL Honors ceremony Feb. 9, three days before Super Bowl 57, in Phoenix.

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Lions offensive coordinator Ben Johnson is one of three finalists for assistant coach of the year, along with 49ers defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans and Eagles offensive coordinator Shane Steichen.

Johnson interviewed for head coaching jobs with the Carolina Panthers, Houston Texans and Indianapolis Colts this offseason, but withdrew his name from consideration for all three jobs.

Under Johnson’s guidance, the Lions finished fifth in the NFL in scoring offense (26.6 points per game) and fourth in total yards (380 yards per game) this season, and quarterback Jared Goff had one of the most productive seasons of his career.

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Among other awards, quarterbacks Patrick Mahomes, Joe Burrow, Josh Allen, Jalen Hurts and receiver Justin Jefferson are finalists for MVP, and pass rushers Nick Bosa, Micah Parsons and Chris Jones are finalists for Defensive Player of the Year.

Contact Dave Birkett at dbirkett@freepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @davebirkett.

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