Detroit Lions: Will Jamal Agnew return to form in 2019?

Will a healthy Jamal Agnew return to his former All-Pro form in 2019 for the Detroit Lions? Under new special-teams coach, John Bonamego there’s hope.

Cornerback Jamal Agnew entered the league as the Detroit Lions fifth-round pick (165th overall) of the 2017 NFL Draft. Little did the rest of the league know, Lions general manager Bob Quinn had found a special talent with this pick.

As a rookie in 2017 Agnew was phenomenal. In Week Two of the season, Agnew was named the NFC special-teams player of the week. The 22-year-old corner had earned himself NFL All-Pro honors and a 2017 NFL All-Rookie team nod at the close of the season, not as a cornerback, but as a punt-return-specialist.

Agnew had returned 29 punts in 13 games for 447 yards and two touchdowns. He was blazing a trail around defenders with his quick moves and sudden bursts of acceleration. The man was fun to watch, to say the least.

The following year would prove to be a different narrative for Agnew and the Lions. Detroit’s special-teams went from one of the best units league-wide in 2017 to one of the worst in 2018.

The former All-Pro return man would only average 4.8 yards per return on a total of just 12 returns in 2018. Agnew only played in six games before suffering a season-ending knee injury. Less than one month later, Detroit fired special-teams coach Joe Marciano.

In January of 2019, the Lions hired John Bonamego as their new special-teams coach. Bonamego was the Lions special-teams coordinator from 2013-14, so Detroit presumably already knows what they’re getting with this hire.

From 2015-2018 Bonamego was the head coach of the Central Michigan University Chippewas. He led CMU to a bowl game in all of his first three seasons and a MAC West title in 2015. Apparently, the man knows what he is doing.

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With a healthy Jamal Agnew and new coaching staff in place, I expect the Detroit Lions’ return man will have a bounce-back year in Motown. We will all have to patiently wait and see if the third-year corner can pull off another All-Pro season for the Lions in 2019 or if he is just another one-hit-wonder. For the record, I believe Agnew is far too talented of a player to be a fluke.

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