Detroit Lions Make Solid Special Teams Hire with John Bonamego

When news broke that special teams coordinator Danny Crossman was leaving the Detroit Lions for the Buffalo Bills, Alan Lowry was immediately a hot name to fill the role.

Aug 22, 2011; Oxnard, CA, USA; New Orleans Saints assistant special teams coach John Bonamego at training camp at the River Ridge Fields at the Residence Inn. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee/Image of Sport-USA TODAY Sports

The reasons were good; familiarity with Schwartz from working on the Tennessee Titans’ staff and units that regularly placed near the top of the league, not to mention the fact he was the designer of the famed Music City Miracle.

But the Lions went in a different direction, instead hiring John Bonamego to lead their special teams. Bonamego has been a longtime NFL special teams coach and although he has bounced around a bit, his special teams units have generally performed quite well.

Pro Football Focus gives full team rankings going back to 2008. Here is a look at where each of Bonamego’s teams ranked:

Year Team PFF Rank
2012 Jaguars 18th
2011 Saints 3rd
2010 Dolphins 5th
2009 Dolphins 6th
2008 Dolphins 16th

Obviously this is only a five year snapshot but it is the most recent data and we see a lot to like. Most importantly we see year-over-year improvement in his three years with the Miami Dolphins. He then went to the Saints where he oversaw another very good special teams unit. That level of success didn’t carry over as he moved on to the Jacksonville Jaguars but considering the Jacksonville Jaguars didn’t do much of anything well in 2012, a 16th overall ranking doesn’t look so bad. The Lions finished the year six spots behind the Jags.

It may not have been the name most fans were looking for, but it still looks pretty good.

Topics: Detroit Lions, John Bonamego

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