The Lions are 1-3 for a number of reasons, but breakdowns on special teams are near the top of the list.
They gave up a 105-yard kickoff return touchdown and a 77-yard punt return for a score in yesterday’s loss to the Vikings, after allowing one of each last week against the Titans as well.
But Lions coach Jim Schwartz said special teams coordinator Danny Crossman’s job is safe.
“That’s not a consideration,” Schwartz said when asked if there might be staff changes, according to Chris McCosky of the Detroit News.
“If we were getting out-schemed or if players were messing up schemes, it would be one thing,” Schwartz continued. “These are physical plays we have to make and pro athletes have to make them.”
The Lions waved the white flag by pooch-kicking the rest of the game, rather than give up another home run play.
“When we’ve got to start coming up with scheming stuff like that, it’s like conceding defeat,” kicker Jason Hanson said. “The guys, I hope, take it personally, that we’re not good enough — we can’t even kick the ball down the field.”
One of the Lions problems continues to be injuries to starters, which cuts into special teams depth as guys get promoted into roles that don’t allow them to concentrate on the kicking game solely. But even good special teams players are struggling, such as wide receiver Kassim Osgood, who missed an open field tackle on the punt return score.
“I think big things need to change,” Hanson said. “There’s no excuse for us giving up touchdowns and not covering. All special teams need to get their act together because we’re good but we’re garbage right now. And we’re killing our team.”
Crossman’s been offered up by his head coach before under similar circumstances, but he’s safe in Detroit — for now.