That Detroit Lions is now in the meantime for their interim head coach as Darrell Bevell is not coaching Saturday’s match against Tampa Bay Buccaneers due to COVID-19 protocols, the team announced Thursday.
The Lions move wide receiver coach Robert Prince into the head coach role and turn playcalling tasks over to quarterbacks coach Sean Ryan, who has never been a playcaller at any level in his career.
In defense, coordinator Cory Undlin and all three coaches in the primary position – defensive coach Bo Davis, linebacker coach Ty McKenzie and defensive back coach Steve Gregory – will also not train on Saturday due to COVID-19 protocols.
Assistant head coach Evan Rothstein will serve as the defensive playcaller against the Buccaneers, while Ty Warren, David Corrao and Tony Carter will handle the defensive line, linebackers and defensive back, respectively.
Prince, who has never been head coach, was an offensive coordinator at Fort Lewis College (1994-95), in the Japanese X League (1996-97), in Portland State (1999-2000) and in Boise State (2012-13). . He was the passing game coordinator in Colorado in 2010.
He has been with the Lions since 2014, brought in by former coach Jim Caldwell.
Bevell gets credit for Saturday’s match, which does not go on Prince’s head coaching ledger, according to ESPN Stats & Information and Elias Sports Bureau.
The only other time a team had three head coaches in a season was 1978 New England Patriots. Chuck Fairbanks was suspended a game for a breach of contract, so Hank Bullough and Ron Erhardt were co-head coaches in Week 16 before Fairbanks returned to the playoffs.
On Monday you train teamback Anthony Pittman and a coach both tested positive for COVID-19. The NFL and Lions then went into their tight tracking procedures, wiping out most of the defensive staff.
Bevell said Wednesday that he thought some of this happened due to the trip to the team’s latest game at 6 p.m. Tennessee – Nashville has one of the highest new cases of COVID-19 in the country – but he is otherwise unsure how his player and coach got the virus.
On Wednesday, Bevell would not “confirm or deny” a report by the Detroit Free Press that a defensive assistant did not always have his contact tracking trackers, and another held a meeting inside his office.
“We will not go into all of this stuff. It goes back to contact tracking,” Bevell said. “When you end up having a positive test, probably what happened to us, it was probably the perfect storm when it comes to when you have an away game and you have any test positive on Monday, they go back 48 hours .
“In a travel situation you have the plane, you have the hotel, you have buses, you have the smaller changing rooms away places. So there are a lot of things to sift through and a lot of information about it. We ‘still work through it all.”