New Detroit Lions RBs coach/assistant head coach Scottie Montgomery wants to be NFL OC

Detroit Free Press

The Detroit Lions have a new running backs coach — and a new potential in-house replacement for offensive coordinator Ben Johnson, should they need one a year from now.

The Lions are hiring Scottie Montgomery as their new running backs coach and assistant head coach, NFL Network reported Monday.

Montgomery spent the past two seasons as running backs coach with the Indianapolis Colts and told reporters this winter he wants to be an offensive coordinator in the NFL.

“Of course I want to be a coordinator in this league,” Montgomery said, via the Indianapolis Star. “I think that’s pretty evident around the league. People know that. But I also know there’s a lot that goes with having the responsibility of the room that I have.”

Johnson established himself as one of the best offensive play callers in the league this season, when the Lions ranked fifth in the NFL in points scored and fourth in total yards. He interviewed for three head coaching vacancies last month, with the Carolina Panthers, Arizona Cardinals and Colts, but pulled his name out of the running for all three jobs.

One of three finalists for NFL Assistant Coach of the Year, Johnson should continue to generate head coaching interest as long as the Lions remain strong on offense.

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Montgomery, a former NFL receiver who caught 16 passes in parts of three seasons with the Denver Broncos, interviewed for the Panthers offensive coordinator job this offseason and has a wide range of coaching experience on the offensive side of the ball.

He coached wide receivers at Duke, when Johnson was a walk-on quarterback at North Carolina, and with the Pittsburgh Steelers; returned to Duke as associate head coach and offensive coordinator; went 9-26 in three seasons as head coach at East Carolina; and was offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach at Maryland before returning to the NFL in 2021.

With the Colts, Montgomery worked closely with Jonathan Taylor and Indianapolis’ second-ranked rushing attack (149.4 ypg) in 2021. Taylor missed six games with ankle injuries this season and the Colts fell to 23rd in the NFL in rushing offense (109.8 ypg).

Montgomery replaces Duce Staley, who left for a job in Carolina, on the Lions staff. He is the third assistant Lions coach Dan Campbell has added this offseason, and all three have previous NFL playing experience.

New tight ends coach Steve Heiden played 11 NFL seasons at tight end and was taken 10 picks before Campbell in the 1999 draft. And new cornerbacks coach Dre Bly made two Pro Bowls in four seasons with the Lions.

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

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