Lions cut ties with multiple offense assistants

USA TODAY Sports

Following a 2012 season defined by disappointment, the Detroit Lions began making some wholesale changes to the organization on Monday afternoon.

While the ultimate fate of head coach Jim Schwartz is still unclear, at least three of his assistants - wide receivers coach Shawn Jefferson, running backs coach Sam Gash and offensive line coach George Yarno - have been notified that they won't be brought back for the 2013 season, MLive's Anwar Richardson reports.

Richardson also reports that the Lions will not be retaining the services of tight end coach Tim Lappano, but that may not be accurate, as Lions beat writer Tim Twentyman has a source refuting that report. Lappano has filled the same role for Detroit since joining the organization in 2009.

Despite having one of the most productive passing offenses in the sport, one that ultimately provided wide receiver Calvin Johnson's record-breaking season, the Lions struggled to consistently put points on the scoreboard. An imbalanced offense punctuated by a poor running game limited what Johnson and quarterback Matthew Stafford could ultimately do.

After finishing fourth in the NFL in scoring in 2011 with essentially the same offensive core, one led by Stafford, Johnson, tight end Brandon Pettigrew and running back Mikel Leshoure, the unit finished just 17th in points per game this year, a decline that's unsurprisingly been pegged on the coaching staff.

Considering the high level of talent on Detroit's offense, one that boasts the game's best wide receiver and an especially talented quarterback, changes on the coaching staff are to be expected after a season like this one. With most of the personnel already in place, the coaches are taking the bulk of the responsibility.

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