Detroit Lions Special Teams Not So Special


Sep 30, 2012; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Lions head coach Jim Schwartz during the first quarter against the Minnesota Vikings at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-US PRESSWIRE

I know the Lions are a slow starting team, but this is ridiculous. It took all of 12 seconds for the Lions to fall behind in yesterday’s loss to the Minnesota Vikings. Percy Harvins kickoff return for a touchdown set the tone for the game right away. Was I the only one saying to myself, “oh no, here we go again?” That play brought Ford Field’s sound level down to a whimper, and it pretty much stayed there for most of the game.

Jim Schwartz hasn’t been right about a lot things this year, but he was right on the mark about this team deserving to be 1-3. Actually, if it wasn’t for Matthew Stafford’s penchant for acting like John Elway on last minute drives, they would be 0-4 to start off this year. I don’t know what the stat is on teams starting out 1-3 and making the playoffs is, but I’m sure it’s as likely as coming out of an IRS audit with the government owing YOU money. Not likely.

By now, Danny Crossman is probably the most famous special teams coach in all of football, and it’s for all the wrong reasons. A coach’s unit that can set a record for being the first to give up kick and punt returns in consecutive weeks deserves “special” recognition. To make matters worse, they were the only touchdowns the Vikings could muster all day.

Reports are coming out today that the Vikings say they saw possible openings in the Lions special teams defense the very first time they saw film. If the Vikings and the Titans know this information in this copycat league, then everybody knows it. That sounds a lot like poor coaching on Danny Crossman’s part. Since Mr. Crossman is so popular nowadays, I thought I would do little research on him. In his five years as the special team’s coordinator for the Carolina Panthers from 2005 to 2009, they were the only team in the NFL to not score a touchdown on either kickoff or punt returns in that span. And they hired THAT guy?

The Lions still have other problems beside the wretched play of their special teams. The defense wasn’t horrible, but it didn’t make any plays either. Look, we all know what this defense is right now, it’s part under-performers in the front, and train wreck in the back. Maybe the Lions should have spent those first two picks in the draft on defense, and not on offensive players who don’t even contribute?

The offense just doesn’t seem comfortable out there. All of a sudden they’re afraid of attacking teams deep. Other teams are keeping their safeties deep and letting them run at will while giving them all the short passes they want but they were doing that last year too, and it didn’t seem to bother the Lions much then. They threw the ball at will all over the field. This year it’s different, the Lions are letting the game be dictated to them. Maybe Team Swag was totally a 2011 kind of thing.