Special Teams Issues a Concern as Padded Camp Opens

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Photo by Dona Keast

“Special” Teams

I’ve been going to Detroit Lions training camp for a long time.  In all the years I’ve been going, under two head coaches and three different special teams coordinators, I’ve never seen so little emotion or energy on ST drills.  These are the drills designed for the UDFAs, the fringe guys, the guys who are inherently trying their best to make an impression and work onto the roster.  And yet, during new coordinator Joe Marciano’s drills, there was a lethargy that just swept over the field.  It was unnerving.  I mean, it was a high school football field, but these were pro football players not high schoolers but you wouldn’t know it if you were watching.

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The aforementioned Zach Zenner for instance.  He looked good on the drills I watched, but moving at half speed it didn’t really seem like a standout performance.  It’s not impressive, truly, to beat guys that are jogging and barely trying to stop you.  The same was true for the returners.  Even though they looked better than we’re used to seeing, until they did full ST drills there was a lot of blowing through space that won’t be there in a real game.  Even the full drills, there was a huge divide between the vets, like Bynes and Palmer, and the younger guys.

Indeed, it was generally the PLAYERS injecting energy into the ST drills, instead of the coaches.  Until Tate took a big return on wing drills, the players looked like they could have been anywhere else at that moment.  That energy didn’t last, but it saw a few sparks from other players like Snyder, Zenner, Winn, and Bynes.

Special Teams, outside of the actual specialists, is a complete disaster.  We’re in full on Danny-Crossman-Pamphlet-Playbook mode at the moment and that has me worried.  I’m trying not to doom and gloom it too much, and like I’ve said before, this is only one practice where they play specifically to the crowds.  I am not, however, confident at the moment.  ST drills are not usually very exciting, but they’ve always been high energy under Bonamego and are running at half speed under Marciano so far. Moving onto more positive notes…

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