Lions defensive coordinator Paul Pasqualoni stepping away from position, the latest change to coaching staff

The Detroit Lions decided to retain general manager Bob Quinn and head coach Matt Patricia before the season ended, but the 2019 coaching staff wasn't going to remain intact. Defensive coordinator Paul Pasqualoni informed the Lions he would not be returning to his position in 2020 after two seasons at the helm. 

"Coach Pasqualoni notified me this week that he will be stepping away from the Lions to be closer to his family," Lions head coach Matt Patricia said in a statement released by the team. "Coach P is one of the best men I've ever been around, on both personal and professional levels. I owe him so much and I'm grateful of the impact he had on our players, coaches and support staff. He will continue to be a great sounding board for me as a coach, father and leader. I wish him and his family well as they begin the new year together."

Detroit initially decided to retain Pasqualoni after a season which the Lions finished 26th in points allowed (26.4) and 31st in yards allowed (400.4). The Lions allowed opponents to convert 43.93% of third downs, which was 28th in the league. The defense had a steep decline after allowing 22.5 points (17th) and 335.0 yards (10th). They also were 11th in opponents third down conversion rate (37.10%). 

The Lions blew leads in 12 games, 10 of which came in the fourth quarter. The defense finished last in the NFL in pass yards allowed (284.4) and 27th in yards per pass allowed (7.4). Detroit finished -5 in turnover ratio and tied for last in interceptions with seven. Their 18 takeaways were 24th in the NFL. 

Pasqualoni's resignation comes after Detroit announced the firings of several coaches Tuesday, most notably special teams coach John Bonamego.

Bonamego lasted just one season with the Lions. He was hired after spending four seasons as the head coach at Central Michigan, where he finished with a 22-29 record. Bonamego was the special teams coach of the Lions in 2013 and 2014, before leaving for the Central Michigan position. Detroit finished eighth in Football Outsiders special teams rankings after finishing 20th in the league in 2018, but finished dead last in kickoff coverage. The Lions finished eighth in punt return yards (246) and 22nd in kick return yards (564), allowing the fourth fewest punt return yards in the league (130) and the most kick return yards (1,284). 

The Lions also fired five other assistant coaches: strength coach Harold Nash, assistant strength coach Rodney Hill, linebackers coach Al Golden, tight ends coach Chris White, and defensive backs coach Brian Stewart.

Patricia has to hire seven new coaches in 2020 as year three will be a crucial one for him, especially considering he has a 9-22-1 record in two seasons. This season could be Patricia's last in Detroit if the Lions don't compete for a playoff berth or make a significant improvement in 2020.  

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