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Detroit Lions
Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports /

Special Teams Coordinator: Brayden Coombs

When the Detroit Lions hired Brayden Coombs away from the Cincinnati Bengals this past offseason, it was a hire that did garner some positive attention throughout the NFL talking heads.  Coombs had been considered one of the better young ‘up and coming’ coaches in the league.

Despite the Bengals being one of the worst teams in football, special teams had been a significant bright spot for Cincinnati in 2019.  The team ranked in the top ten in kick coverage, field goal percentage, along with kick returning, with Coombs serving as the assistant special teams’ coordinator.

The 34-year old Coombs has not disappointed; the Detroit Lions special teams units are among the best in all of football.  Coombs finally landed his first coordinator job with the Lions after cutting his teeth through his first ten years working his way through the Bengals coaching ranks.

The Lions special teams coordinator Coombs attended Miami University (Ohio), playing four years as a defensive back and wide receiver between 2005-2009.  It’s noteworthy that Coombs is the son of current Ohio State Univerity’s defensive coordinator, Kerry Coombs.

The Detroit Lions led the league with a whopping three blocked punts through their first ten games.  It’s a team that rolls out arguably the best punter in football, Jack Fox.  Fox unseated veteran and somewhat of a fan favorite in Sam Martin this offseason, and it’s proven to be a stellar decision allowing Martin to walk in free agency.

When you start looking at all the special teams’ metrics, the Detroit Lions rank seventh overall.  It’s a very impressive ranking considering the struggles of placekicker Matt Prater.  He’s only converting on 70.8% of his attempts, a far cry from his career average 83% conversion rate.  If Detroit’s kicking game had been on par, the special teams’ ranking would likely be in the top three.

If the Detroit Lions decided to move on from Matt Patricia, I’d like to see Coombs have an opportunity to serve as an interim head coach for the remainder of the 2020 season.  I prefer Detroit to hire an offensive-minded coach, but I’d also like to see what Coombs can do before looking elsewhere.