Reports are surfacing that Lions special teams coordinator Danny Crossman wants out of his contract with the Detroit Lions so he can join longtime friend and former London Monarchs teammate Doug Marrone in Buffalo, who was recently hired as their new head coach.
The Lions became the first team in the modern era to give up a kickoff return and punt return touchdown in the same game in back-to-back weeks in losses to the Titans and Vikings during the first month of the season and help contribute to their 1-3 start to the season.
The coverage units were much better the rest of the way, allowing an average of 6.2 yards per punt return and 20.5 yards per kickoff return during the final 12 games. The return game never really found traction, though.
The Lions were one of six teams denied permission to talk to Browns special teams coordinator Chris Tabor, according to ESPN.
The Lions have not announced any new additions or subtractions to their coaching staff.
If Crossman does indeed leave, a potential replacement could be veteran special teams coach Alan Lowry, who was recently let go by the Tennessee Titans. Lowry finished his 17th season with the franchise, the last 14 coaching special teams. He and head coach Jim Schwartz worked together when Schwartz was the defensive coordinator with the Titans.
Tags: Danny Crossman
Posted in Lions Insider Tim Twentyman | 5 Comments »
The Lions have confirmed the signing of all of their assistant coaches for the 2012 season.
Defensive backs coach Tim Walton and receivers coach Shawn Jefferson were the last to sign on the dotted line.
Walton interviewed with the Rams for their assistant defensive coordinator position last week, but ultimately decided to rejoin the Lions.
The Lions announced the signing of coordinators Gunther Cunningham (defense), Scott Linehan (offense) and Danny Crossman (special teams) earlier this month.
“I think we have a good group of coaches mixed with experience and younger guys, some former players, some guys that never played, but I like that dynamic and I like the consistency,” Lions head coach Jim Schwartz said after the season. “We were consistent from a preparation standpoint, from a game plan standpoint, from week-to-week.”
The Lions coaching staff has remained one of the most consistent since Schwartz took over in 2009.
Tags: Danny Crossman, Gunther Cunningham, Jim Schwartz, Scott Linehan, Shawn Jefferson, Tim Walton
Posted in Lions Insider Tim Twentyman | 9 Comments »
Lions defensive backs coach Tim Walton, whose contract expired after the season, interviewed with the St. Louis Rams on Saturday, according to a report in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
Walton is a candidate to be the Rams’ assistant defensive coordinator for the passing game, according to the report.
Walton has coached the Lions defensive backs the last three seasons. The Lions announced the re-signings of coordinators Gunther Cunningham (defense), Scott Linehan (offense) and Danny Crossman (special teams). They have extended offers to their assistant coaches, too, but have not announced any signings.
The Rams recently hired former Titans head coach Jeff Fisher to be their new head coach. Gregg Williams, who was the Saints’ defensive coordinator this past season, is their new defensive coordinator and Brian Schottenheimer, who was most recently with the Jets, has been hired as their offensive coordinator.
Tags: Danny Crossman, Gunther Cunningham, Scott Linehan, Tim Walton
Posted in Lions Insider Tim Twentyman | 5 Comments »
Lions kicker Jason Hanson and safety John Wendling have been voted the Lions’ Yale Lary Special Teams Most Valuable Players.
It’s the sixth time in Hanson’s 20-year career with the Lions he’s garnered the honor and Wendling’s first.
Hanson converted 24-of-29 field goal attempts and made all 54 of his extra point attempts this season. His 66.3-yard average on kickoffs was the fifth-highest of his career.
Hanson quelled any doubts about his health in training camp when he beat out Dave Rayner for the job. Hanson missed eight games in 2010 because of a torn legitimate in his kicking leg. He came back healthy and strong this season and set a number of NFL and team records this season.
Hanson, 41, is the team’s all-time leading scorer (2,016) and became the sixth player in league history to connect on 400 field goals in a career. With a 50-yard field goal against the Chargers in a Week 16, Hanson became the first NFL kicker to have 50 50-yard field goals.
“It’s funny, I had John Kasay, 42, during my time in Carolina and there’s two guys (Hanson and Kasay) who’ve been at it for 20 years and they are similar in a lot of ways,” said Lions special teams coach Danny Crossman. “They are great players, but more importantly they take care of their bodies. They know how to prepare, they know when to pull forward, they know when to pull back and then they’ve both been unbelievably blessed.
“You look at Jason, the way he kicked the ball off this year was really, really impressive after the injuries the last couple years. We couldn’t have been happier with the season he had.”
Hanson has said he’d like to return for a 21st season in 2012 if the Lions will have him back.
Wendling filled a number of different roles in the special teams unit this year because of injuries. Wendling (6-1, 222) is at his best on the outside as a gunner with his unique blend of his size and speed, but had to play inside at times this season because of injuries.
“John has been a highly productive player and actually we had to play him in some spots early in the season where he wasn’t as productive but he did it willingly to help the team because we were short in some other spots,” Crossman said.
“But when we got rolling again and he was playing at more his natural spots he was the same productive guy he was a year ago. (He) made a lot of plays and led the team in tackles again, just like he did last year.”
Since entering the NFL in 2007, Wendling has recorded 90 special teams tackles, the most in the NFL. He had 17 this season.
“John is a true pro. He works his butt off, he does everything right, plays hard, plays physical, plays smart and is a natural leader,” Crossman said.
The award is in honor of Yale Lary, an All-Pro defensive back who was also one of the NFL’s greatest punters. Lary collected 50 career interceptions as a safety for the Lions, but also won punting titles in 1959, ’61 and ’63. Lary played in nine Pro Bowls and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1979.
Tags: Danny Crossman, Jason Hanson, John Wendling, Yale Lary
Posted in Lions Insider Tim Twentyman | 1 Comment »
There were a couple changes made to the Detroit Lions coaching staff in the past couple weeks with the departure of quarterbacks coach Jeff Horton and the addition of Special Teams Coordinator Danny Crossman.
Head Coach Jim Schwartz says he is pleased with his coaching staff, but is always looking for other opportunities that may come up.
Schwartz: “It’s always a work in progress and different things may arise or something like that.”
Offensive Coordinator Scott Linehan will continue his role as the team’s primary quarterbacks coach – something Schwartz was particular about during the hiring process last year.
Schwartz: “It was very important to me that the offensive coordinator speaks directly to the quarterbacks.”
There won’t be much of a change when it comes to the quarterbacks room – Linehan was in charge of meetings last year – but it will change some things during practice.
Schwartz: “(The quarterback coach) generally takes guys through the practice period, the individual period and then, also, when Scott’s talking to the first quarterback, is talking to the second and third quarterback.”
Schwartz says he chose to reorganize the staff at this point instead of fill the position.
As for Crossman, he is down at the Senior Bowl with the rest of the staff after having two days in Allen Park. Because of that, he hasn’t had much time at all to review Detroit’s current roster from a special teams standpoint, but is looking forward to doing that in the near future.
Crossman: “We’ll spend the next couple of weeks really evaluating and seeing where we’re at and go from there.”
One thing Crossman is looking to do is make changes. Even though the Lions have had some success in certain areas of their special teams, he believes a fresh start would make a positive impact.
Crossman: “Sometimes something new and fresh excites guys. So we’re going to change things. I won’t go into detail of exactly what we’re going to do but it’ll look a lot of different schematically. Then it all comes down to getting good players to play hard, to play tough and play fast.”
Though Crossman is looking to make schematic changes, Schwartz sees him making an impact beyond that.
Schwartz: “Special teams, you need to touch every single player on the team. Head coach, special teams coach (and the) strength and conditioning coach need to touch every single player. It’s not just all scheme. There’s some more to it and I think Danny fits that really well.”
Tags: Danny Crossman, Jim Schwartz
Posted in DetroitLions.com Blog | 9 Comments »