LIONS INSIDER

The Detroit Lions will face a few new-look offenses in 2013

Posted Feb 1, 2013

Defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham will have his work cut out for him next season as the Detroit Lions face five teams with new head coaches ... all of whom have an offensive pedigree

Chip Kelly

Detroit Lions defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham will have his work cut out for him preparing for a few unfamiliar foes next season.

The Lions play five games against teams with new coaches next season and all of them have offensive pedigrees.

A noted quarterback guru, Chicago's new head man Marc Trestman has been an assistant with eight NFL teams, including offensive coordinator for the potent San Francisco 49ers offenses in the early 1990's and for the Oakland Raiders in 2002, when quarterback Rich Gannon was named NFL MVP. He was also the Lions' quarterbacks coach in 1997.

Trestman will run a West Coast offense, which was popularized by Bill Walsh and is a pass-first approach utilizing quick, short passes that are designed to open up the offense and the threat of big plays down the field. That's a shift from the run-first approach for so many years under former Bears coach Lovie Smith.

Perhaps no new offense the Lions face next year will as intriguing as when Detroit makes its trip to Philadelphia.

New Eagles coach Chip Kelly was one of the college game's great offensive minds with his high-paced offense at Oregon that averaged more than 80 plays per game.

There's some question as to how Kelly's system with translate to the NFL, but those same questions were asked of the read option, which looks like it's here to stay with quarterbacks Robert Griffin III, Cam Newton, Russell Wilson and Colin Kaepernick all running it to perfection.

"It'll be interesting to see," Detroit Lions general manager Martin Mayhew said after the season when asked specifically about Kelly.

"We kind of spread people out, and when we had Drew (Stanton) playing quarterback for us, we ran some zone read and we ran some stuff you see primarily in college. So I think there's some elements of that that are coming into the NFL.

"You watch the Redskins, you see some elements of it. You watch the Carolina Panthers. I don't know if his offense would look exactly the same if he came to this level, I don't really know that. But he certainly would have some elements of it, I would think, and there's some elements of it that are present right now in the NFL."

The Lions will also travel back to Arizona for a second straight season to take on new head coach Bruce Arians.

Arians was the Pittsburgh Steelers' offensive coordinator when they beat the Cardinals in the 2009 Super Bowl and had the same role – along with interim coach – for the Colts last season.

He helped the Colts to an 11-win season – after two the previous year – and assisted quarterback Andrew Luck in becoming a candidate for NFL Rookie of the Year.

The team will also stop in Cleveland to face new coach Rob Chudzinski's offense, who spent the past two seasons as Carolina's offensive coordinator. Under Chudzinski, the Panthers finished fifth in total offense in 2011 and 12th last season.

Defensive coordinators are increasingly finding their jobs more difficult.

A record 11,651 points were scored during the 2012 season, with games averaging 45.5 points. That's the highest average in 47 seasons.

In all, 1,297 total touchdowns were scored, surpassing the league-wide record of 1,270, which occurred twice previously (2002, 2010).

The Lions will certainly see the full gambit of offensive systems next season from the spread, West Coast and read option.