With the Lions head coaching situation sitting in a state of uncertainty, one thing fans can bank on is that highly coveted defensive coordinator Teryl Austin will not be back.
Austin is scheduled to interview for the Tennessee Titans head coaching job on Friday. He had already interviewed with the Dolphins, Browns, and Giants. Miami has since hired former Bears offensive coordinator Adam Gase to be their next head coach, while Cleveland tabbed now-former Bengals OC Hue Jackson to be their head coach for 2016 on Wednesday.
In addition to the Titans and Giants, the Eagles, Buccaneers, and 49ers still have vacancies at the head coaching position.
Austin lead the Lions to be the second ranked defense in the NFL in 2014 and was among the hottest head coaching candidates, but he chose to stay with Detroit for one more year. This season, Austin’s defense took a significant step back and ranked 17th overall after key losses across the defensive line and major injuries to the linebacker core. With more appealing head coaching opportunities and a less than stellar performance on the defensive side of the ball this season, Austin seems destined to move on from Detroit.
After starting the season 1-6, the Titans fired head coach Ken Whisenhunt and are looking to move on from interim coach Mike Mularkey after he finished 2-7 in the team’s final 9 games.
If Austin were to take the Titans head coaching job he would be taking over a team that went 3-13 but does posses the top overall pick in the upcoming NFL Draft, as well as a young stud quarterback in Marcus Mariota. He would be inheriting a defense that is already fairly solid, finishing twelfth among the league this year. However, with the Titans defense being based on a 3-4 set, Austin will have to find new pieces to accompany his base 4-3 defense that had huge success in 2014-15.
Austin will also have to find a way to light a fire under an offense that placed among the bottom three in the NFL in total yards.