Today, the Detroit Lions got some good news for a change. Special teams coach Danny Crossman has left the Lions coaching staff to pursue a coaching position with the Buffalo Bills. Now normally a coach leaving wouldn’t be good news, but in the case of Crossman the departure paves the way for positive steps in the future.
Crossman should have been fired by the Lions earlier in the season, or at least at the end of a 4-12 season. The Lions became the first team in the NFL to give up kick return and punt return touchdowns in back to back game. The Lions lost both of these games to the Tennessee Titans (41-44 in overtime) and Minnesota Vikings (24-34). A controlled special teams could have given the Lions a win in either of these contests.
The Lions finished last in several special teams categories including net punt average. The team ranked among the last in the league in special teams for its own returns and return coverage. Part of the problem can be placed on Stefan Logan and his several mistakes, which helped him lose his return man role. However, Crossman should have been held accountable for the team’s special teams.
At the end of the season, many Lions fans expected Crossman to be fired in many moves the Lions should make for an underperforming team. Instead, head coach Jim Schwartz failed to pull the trigger and Crossman’s job was retained. Now Lions fans can rejoice that much needed change is coming to special teams.
Earlier reports listed the Lions coach as being fired. Those turned out to be false, because the Lions wouldn’t pull the trigger on Crossman. Instead, Crossman left the team to join new Buffalo Bills head coach Doug Marrone. Crossman will coach special teams for the Bills, under his former World League teammate Marrone.
The loss of Crossman leaves the Lions short-handed at several coaching positions. Wide receivers coach Shawn Jefferson moved on from the team. Running back coach Sam Gash and offensive line coach George Yarno were also not retained by the team. The Lions have shuffled around several staff members and promoted from within to fill voids.