Duce Staley knows the expectations of the Detroit Lions’ offense this season. With much scrutiny surrounding their wide receiving corps, the expectation is the Lions will showcase a run-based offensive scheme.
And it’s for a good reason.
D’Andre Swift is coming off a rookie season where he showcased abilities as a feature back. Newly-signed Jamaal Williams has impressed the coaching staff throughout training camp. And then there’s rookie Jermar Jefferson. He’s played above what many would expect from a 7th round pick. And that’s partly because of the massive chip on his shoulder.
When speaking with the media on Thursday, Staley didn’t hide his belief in Jefferson’s ability.
“Confidence is high, for me, with Jermar. Super high,” said Staley. “Just being able to see him in college, [and], you know, now, it’s two different guys.”
Jefferson didn’t catch many passes out the backfield during his time in college. In his last two seasons combined at Oregon State, he caught 18 passes total. After observing him throughout the Lions training camp, expect that number to improve.
Because of it, there’s a level of excitement surrounding this unit. Nevertheless, that’s not changing Staley’s perspective or preparation. From the running back unit to the offensive line, he’s about the work.
“When you look on paper, man, you know, you see the size, you see the backs, you see the names, but that’s just paper,” said Staley. “You gotta come out here and go to work. And those guys know that. We know that as coaches, and we put em to work.”
“It’s very easy to say, ‘Hey man, this line is supposed, these backs supposed to be this.’ Yeah, well, if you’re not out here putting in the work, it doesn’t look right. So we’re all about work, and we’ll talk about success later.”
The RB unit and the offensive line Staley mentioned face a tall task, especially with the recent developments. On Thursday, Detroit Lions starting LT Taylor Decker missed practice. The team listed him as dealing with a finger injury on Wednesday. If Decker misses the first preseason game, it could not have come at a worse time for the Lions, especially with Swift returning from a groin injury.
Regardless, Duce Staley is ready for the 49ers. Sunday will be his first game as the Lions’ new Assistant head coach/running backs coach. The Detroit Lions hired Staley back in January for the same position he held with the Eagles. It was a shocker to many in the sports world, especially the city of Philadelphia. There was an expectation that Staley would be in line for the then-vacant Eagles head coaching job.
However, that didn’t happen. Instead, the Eagles hired Indianapolis Colts’ offensive coordinator Nick Sirianni.
And if you look at Staley’s face, he’s over it. He’s prepared to coach his new group on Sunday.
“I love the game,” said Staley. “And I get a chance once again to live vicariously through my players and the team.”
“If you guys [are] over there watching and you see my heel-toe going over there, trust me, it’s not because of a song. It’s because I’m out there making a move.”