Monday, October 1, 2012
BBAO: Lions special teams coordinator safe
By Kevin Seifert
We're Black and Blue All Over. (We're also on Facebook and Twitter.)
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- We had two wild games Sunday in the NFC North and we're still not done with Week 4 yet. It won't be over until the Chicago Bears and Dallas Cowboys play on ESPN's "Monday Night Football," and we have a ton to get to before that 8:30 p.m. ET kickoff.
The Minnesota Vikings are the darlings of the NFL at 3-1 and the Green Bay Packers might have saved their season with a one-point victory over the New Orleans Saints. But we'll start with a question many of you tweeted my way after the Detroit Lions became the first team in NFL history to allow a punt and kickoff to be returned for touchdowns in consecutive games: Will special teams coordinator Danny Crossman be fired?
It's rare when NFL teams make in-season changes with full-time assistant coaches. (This is not the University of Wisconsin, after all.) And Lions coach Jim Schwartz was quick to respond Sunday when asked about Crossman's status.
"No," Schwartz said. "That's not a consideration."
He didn't rule it out as a matter of course but suggested the Lions' issues rested with players rather than coaching.
"If we were getting out-schemed, if we were making continual mistakes," he said. "There are physical plays that we have to make and we're professional athletes. We have to make them."
Suffice it to say, the Lions enter their bye week with plenty to think about.
Let's take our morning tour around the division:
- Here's a stunning quote from normally-reserved place-kicker Jason Hanson on the Lions' special teams, via Drew Sharp of the Detroit Free Press: "We're garbage right now, and we're killing our team."
- Bob Wojnowski of the Detroit News: "If only it were as easy as booting 11 special-teamers and canning the special-teams coach. This goes deeper, to the very essence of how the Lions are built, and they're lucky they have a bye week to try to figure it out."
- Sunday was the first game Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford hasn't thrown at least one touchdown pass since Week 1 of the 2010 season, notes Anwar S. Richardson of Mlive.com.
- Despite Schwartz's explanation, multiple Vikings players and coaches said they exploited a pre-scouted hole in the Lions' kickoff coverage for Percy Harvin's 105-yard touchdown return. Ben Goessling of the St. Paul Pioneer Press explains.
- Dan Wiederer of the Star Tribune: "Sunday's victory wasn't perfect. But it included many of the accomplishments Frazier wants every week. The turnover battle? Won, thanks to Mikel Leshoure's third-quarter fumble, forced and recovered by safety Jamarca Sanford. Run defense? Sturdy, surrendering only 55 yards on 20 Detroit carries. Strong ground attack? Present, thanks to Adrian Peterson's 102-yard day. No wonder [coach Leslie] Frazier seemed as pumped as he's ever been as a head coach."
- Peterson gained 102 yards even with Lions safety Erik Coleman lined up as a linebacker for most of the game, notes Tom Pelissero of 1500ESPN.com.
- Chip Scoggins of the Star Tribune on the Vikings' 3-1 start: "Instead of another serving of pigskin calamity and comedy, we're witnessing competence and budding confidence. And winning football."
- All is forgiven in a Packers victory, writes Mike Vandermause of the Green Bay Press-Gazette.
- The Packers overcame the officials and the New Orleans Saints, writes Michael Hunt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
- Packers backup quarterback Graham Harrell on tripping and fumbling in his first regular-season snap, via Jason Wilde of ESPNMilwaukee.com: "A snap's a pretty basic deal, you know? We can't have that. The snap was perfect. I just tripped. I probably just should've taken the loss of yards instead of sticking it out and trying to get it to [tailback Cedric Benson] and fumbling."
- Michael C. Wright of ESPNChicago.com sees Monday night's game as "Two streaky quarterbacks playing behind leaky offensive lines."
- Quarterbacks Jay Cutler and Tony Romo don't have as much in common as you might think, writes Dan Pompei of the Chicago Tribune.
- The Bears could learn plenty about this game from their 2010 victory at Cowboys Stadium, notes Mark Potash of the Chicago Sun-Times.