Wednesday, November 16, 2011
Kicking kerfuffle continues in Detroit
By Kevin Seifert
As we continue to catch up after a busy few days, we should note that the Detroit Lions swapped punters Tuesday. They released Robert Malone and signed Ben Graham, a former Australian rules football player who has kicked for three teams over parts of the past seven seasons.
There has been no official word on Graham's arrival, but he is listed on the Lions' roster on the NFL's website. Adam Caplan originally reported the move Tuesday night.
Graham's arrival suggests at least two conclusions.
First, the Lions held Malone accountable for booming a 60-yard punt down the middle rather than to the sideline, as directed, in their 37-13 loss to the Chicago Bears. Returner Devin Hester took back the punt 82 yards for a touchdown.
Second, incumbent Ryan Donahue might need at least another week of inactivity after straining his quadriceps in practice last week. Otherwise, you wonder if the Lions would have waited until later in the week to make this move.
Punters might not be the most important player on the field, but Sunday's game provided evidence how they can influence the outcome of a game -- for better or worse.