Lions special teams nightmare continues, but coach safe


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.

32 responses to “Lions special teams nightmare continues, but coach safe

  1. The Harvin return was one thing – the guy’s great. The punt return, though, wow – it seemed like everyone in blue had a shot at him.

  2. I love Jason Hanson, he can still hit regularly from 50+, but he doesn’t have the leg anymore to hit the back of the endzone. It would take up a valuable roster spot but I’d consider bringing in a guy just for kickoffs.

  3. Schwartz said in the pre-season that Special Teams was an issue, and they needed guys that could actually make plays.

    He and the staff have failed after 6 weeks to produce a competent special teams unit, and it’s losing games for us.

  4. The Lions are playing bad football in all 3 phases right now, with special teams being the worst. Schwartz needs to make some significant change on special teams, a coach cannot stand by and let this keep happening each week.

  5. blacknole08 says:
    Oct 1, 2012 9:06 AM
    Lions need to fire Crossman, The special teams has been the deciding factor in the Lion’s losses the last two games.
    How is that going to make the players play better? Lynch mob mentality, you just want to see someone’s head roll to pay for making you upset. Like Schwartz said, players need to make the plays on the field. ST unit sucked when Stan Kwan coached them. He finally got fired for it and what do you know, they still suck!

    Let’s not lose sight of the fact that this team is supposed to have a quick-strike high-powered passing offense who can hang in a shootout. Yet they’ve managed a whopping 5 passing TDs in 4 games, and those seem to come when scrambling to catch up in the 4th. Whose fault is it that Stafford has misfired passes, and when he’s on target the receivers drop them? It’s just pathetic play, there’s no fire or heart in their game. I can’t understand why, but it’s just not there.

  6. The natural order of things seems to be reasserting itself.

    It’s not nice to fool with Mother Nature.

  7. I don’t think you can say the Lions played bad in all three phases… the defense gave up only 6 points. That’s a very good outing for a very banged up group.

    Clearly giving up 14 points on special teams though is terrible and the offense still should put up more than 20 a game.

  8. Vikings coaching staff actually scouted a weakness in the Lions’ kickoff coverage, which helped create the Harvin TD, going untouched to the endzone.

    Lions pooch-kicked all the remaining kickoffs, otherwise there might have been more TDs or long returns.

    Doesn’t say much about the Lions’ Special Teams coach if he is either coaching or failed to recognize a noticable flaw in kickoff coverage.

  9. Here is the story from the St Paul Pioneer Press:

    Percy Harvin’s touchdown return was no chance matter for Vikings

    DETROIT — The genesis of Percy Harvin’s kickoff return touchdown came six days before he cut to the right sideline and cruised 105 yards, sucking the air out of both the Lions’ kickoff team and the 63,616 fans at Ford Field.

    Special teams coordinator Mike Priefer had studied video of the Tennessee Titans’ 105-yard kick return in their win over the Lions and saw something he thought the Vikings could exploit — particularly if Detroit covered its kickoffs the same way.

    So when Harvin took the game’s opening kickoff and veered across the field, the Vikings knew they’d gotten exactly what they wanted.

    “It was a great call by Coach (Priefer),” Harvin said. “They (the Lions) overplayed it. The blockers did a great job, and I did the easy part.”

    When things open up like they did for Harvin on the game’s first play, it really can be that simple for the Vikings. His kickoff return was the longest in team history — a yard longer than the season-opening 104-yard return he had against San Diego in 2011. It was the fifth kick return touchdown in the receiver’s 49 career games, and it set the tone for a game the Vikings won in large part because of their special teams.

  10. We need to fire Crossman and cut Stefan Logan.

    On the KO return, Logan broke contain as if he knew where Harvin was going to go with the ball. He got trapped inside and left 6th rd rookie Jonte Green as the only defender on that side to take on one of the best kick returners the NFL has ever seen.

    Logan is not even a good returner. Time to give that job to Broyles, if we can’t get him involved in the offense, at least he can return punts. We have lost the last 2 games by 1 score and gave up 2 special teams scores in each of them, safe to assume why we’re losing football games? Our offense is Top 5 in the league in yardage and bottom 5 in scoring. Our defense is like 7th in Total D. We could be easily 3-1 without these ST’s mishaps!

  11. On the Percy Harvin return, the WERE out schemed. Go read the article at and you’ll see that their coach’s saw the flaw in their coverage and planned to run the same blocking scheme as the Titans did the week before. If Shwartz keeps this guy he’s stupid.

  12. If the Lions get their special teams squared a way they can win. Of course, I notice that John621 guy who said the Lions would crush the Vikes and LeShoure would run through the vikings D is nowhere to be found.

  13. Crossman lead the 32nd ranked Special Teams in Carolina before coming to Detroit. Now he has taken them to the bottom, and Schwartz says his job is not even being considered? Maybe Schwartz needs a dose of reality.

  14. Schwartz is the main problem. The special teams stink, the D has no pressure and we drop far too many balls. You can all deny this but we are an undisciplined nightmare. That’s been a problem as soon as he arrived and his inability to control this team will be our ( all our offseason problems reinforce this) demise. Really wish ownership would stop being a fan and start doing their job. Schwartz has to go

  15. This team isn’t catching anyone by surprise like they did last year and they throw it to Calvin Johnson philosophy only work for so long.

  16. The Defense is milktoast instilling NO FEAR.

    Suh who?
    Fairley needs an oxygen tank strapped to his back
    Sacks/hurries… when/where?

    246 yards in penalties… at least they’re not ‘1st worst’ in the league

    Disarray and Disfunctional are eight letter words:


  17. I took my family to this game and I honestly left feeling like I don’t enjoy NFL football anymore. The level of incompetence, lack of effort or heart, it all just sucked the enjoyment out of the game. I honestly can say I love college ball far more now. It’s one thing to play hard and still lose and another to lose just going through the motions…or clearly not having the skill to compete. I can’t say that Detroit doesn’t have the skill but man.

  18. Fire Crossman now or just let him go with the rest of the staff at the end of the season when Schwartz gets canned…not much difference in the grand scheme of things.

  19. I’m disgusted with my Lions. They’re 1 play away from being 0-4, but really, also a 1 play away per game from being, at least, 3-1. Unfortunately, they’re on the wrong side of that and LOOK like they SHOULD be on the wrong side of that. I can’t even dig for bright spots right now.

  20. The problem with them losing now is that we fully expect them to be winning these games. Before last year, we expected to lose or almost win. Since beginning of 2011, we expect to win. I guess expecting our Lion’s team to win is the only bright spot I’m still left with at the moment, and that is diminishing rapidly. All this talent is not going anywhere.

  21. The Lions Defense has given up 42 points in 4 games including 21 points against the 49ers. the Titans hung 44 points on us, but if you watched the game, you would know only 14 points was on the defense (including a 71 yrd miracle catch). Defense has given up 42 points while playing two of the top teams in the league this year.. (49ers and yes…. the vikings). Special teams and turnovers have gave up 72 points thus far (4 games in)…. our defense IS doing their job…

  22. Dear Lions, don’t change a thing. Sincerely, Devon Hester The Bears.


    Who is Devon Hester? The brother of Devin Hester just curious? As a Lions fan the coach needs to go bring in Bill Cowher next year! Pay him whatever he wants!

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