Kris Kocurek
Defensive Line


Kris Kocurek enters his seventh season as defensive line coach after joining the Lions as Detroit’s assistant defensive line coach in 2009. He had spent the previous season coaching defensive line at Stephen F. Austin State.


Kocurek further established himself as a molder of young talent along the defensive line as nine different defensive linemen recorded at least 0.5 sacks in 2014. As a unit, the defensive line accounted for 34 of the team’s 42 sacks in 2014.

  • The 2014 Lions defensive line was among the best in the league in forcing opponents into negative plays (sacks and tackles for loss on rushing plays). Detroit ranked fifth in sacks by defensive line (34.0), tied for third in TFL on rushing plays by defensive line (26) and second in total negative plays by defensive line with 60.
  • The Lions tied an NFL record for the most games (14) holding opponents to less than 100 rushing yards in a season. The 14 games limiting opponents to less than 100 rushing yards is also a franchise record.
  • DE Ezekiel Ansah followed up on his stellar rookie season by finishing with 7.5 sacks in 2014, giving him 15.5 in his first two NFL seasons. His 15.5 sacks over the last two seasons rank third among all NFL defensive players in their second or third seasons behind only DE Olivier Vernon (18.0) and DE Chandler Jones (17.5).
  • Kocurek was also instrumental in the development of third-year DE George Johnson in 2014. After joining the team as a free agent following brief stints with Tampa Bay and Minnesota, Johnson finished third on the team in sacks with 6.0 and emerged as a force in the defensive end rotation, particularly in third-down situations.
  • In his first season with the Lions after being drafted fifth overall, Ansah led the team in sacks in 2013 with eight, the second most sacks by a Lions rookie since DT Ndamukong Suh had 10 in 2010. Ansah recorded three multi-sack games, posting two sacks at Washington (9/22), vs. Tampa Bay (11/24) and vs. Green Bay (11/24). His eight sacks also led all NFL rookie players.
  • The Lions defensive line had their best outing of the 2013 season on Thanksgiving Day (11/28) vs. Green Bay, sacking Packers QB Matt Flynn seven times, forcing a fumble and recording a safety.
  • In 2010, Kocurek’s first season as the Lions’ defensive line coach, Detroit had the most-improved pass rush in the NFL. Even though teams threw the ball nine times less against the Lions in 2010 season than they did in 2009, the Lions picked up 18 more sacks, which accounted for an increase of 3.28 sacks per pass play.
In 2009, Kocurek helped rookie DT Sammie Hill, who was drafted out of Stillman College in the fourth round (115thoverall) of the 2009 NFL Draft, emerge as an opening day starter. He finished the season with 26 tackles (14 solo) and two fumble recoveries in 13 games while making the transition from a small college prospect to NFL starter (12 starts).

In 2007, Kocurek served as the assistant head coach and defensive line coach at West Texas A&M where he helped coach the Buffaloes to the 2007 Lone Star Conference title as well as the second round of the NCAA Division II playoffs. The Buffaloes became one of the top defensive units in the LSC and led the conference in scoring defense.

Under Kocurek’s guidance, Brandon Swain became one of the top defensive players at the Division II level and was a 2007 First-Team Daktronics, AFCA and AP Little All-American and conference defensive lineman of the year after recording 24.5 tackles for losses and 14 sacks.

Kocurek served as the defensive line coach at Texas A&M-Commerce in 2006 and helped guide the Lions’ top-ranked defensive unit, which finished No. 1 in total and scoring defense.

For two seasons (2004-05) Kocurek served as a graduate assistant at Texas A&M-Kingsville and coached the Javelinas’ defensive line where he was active in the development of Wilbert Martin, who was twice selected as First Team All-LSC and was a free agent signee of the Baltimore Ravens.

Kocurek began his coaching career in 2003 as a student assistant at Texas Tech. While in Lubbock, he assisted with the defensive linemen and helped coach the Red Raiders to a 2003 Houston Bowl win over Navy.

Prior to coaching, Kocurek spent two years in the NFL with the Tennessee Titans (2002) and the Seattle Seahawks (2001) after being selected in the seventh round (237th overall) of the 2001 NFL Draft by Seattle.

Kocurek was born November 15, 1978. He played collegiate football at Texas Tech and was a three-time All-Big 12 selection. As a senior, he was selected as team captain and named defensive player of the year.


Detroit Lions 2009-

  • Defensive Line 2010-
  • Assistant Defensive Line 2009

Stephen F. Austin State University 2008

  • Defensive Line 2008

West Texas A&M 2007

  • Assistant Head Coach/Defensive Line 2007

Texas A&M Commerce 2006

  • Defensive Line 2006

Texas A&M Kingsville 2004-05

  • Graduate Assistant 2004

Texas Tech 2003

  • Graduate Assistant 2003

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