The Detroit Lions have fired special teams coordinator Brayden Coombs after going rogue Sunday in Tennessee.
Midway through the fourth quarter of Sunday’s game that had been still in what I will call ‘reach,’ the Detroit Lions shockingly called a fake punt on fourth down deep in their own territory. The Lions came up short, and that essentially put the final nail in Detroit’s coffin.
If the Detroit Lions felt the need to go for it in that situation, wouldn’t you rather have Matthew Stafford and D’Andre Swift on the field rather than an up-back trying to chug their way to the line to gain?
As it turns out, Detroit Lions special teams coordinator Brayden Coombs decided on his own, without running it past head coach Darrell Bevell. That is wrong and apparently a fireable offense.
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I understand the decision to fire Coombs over that; it’s just a shame to see one of the best special teams coordinators go. For Coombs, maybe he didn’t run it past Bevell first because he knew Bevell would disapprove of it at that juncture of the game.
Also, don’t overlook the fact that Coombs felt slated by Bevell being promoted after the firing of Matt Patricia. Coombs knows he’s done a tremendous job; he’s heard the chatter from the fans and media at the time of Detroit’s coaching change. Maybe he expected to be promoted, and this was his way of undermining Bevell.
Imagine if you tried to make a deal that fell through, in turn, losing another account without running the idea by your employer, understanding that you didn’t have the authority to decide the first place. Or what if one of your employees made a significant business decision without running it past you first. You wouldn’t feel too well if it fell through, would you?
It’s a shame knowing that many of the fans around the league will be snickering, saying, of course, this would happen to the Detroit Lions. I’m sure letting Coombs go wasn’t an easy decision, understanding he’s coached up the leagues’ top punter along with seeing his special teams unit blocked a whopping four kicks in 2020.
The Lions special teams as a whole remain one of the best units in all of football but the organization that has often been considered dysfunctional needs to follow the chain of command. Coordinators know what they are allowed to do and not do.
If Coombs had the power to make this type of decision independently, there would be no issue. Similar to an offensive coordinator going for it on fourth down. If an OC opts to go for it on fourth down without letting the head coach know, we’d likely see similar repercussions.
Reports have surfaced that Coombs has displayed a me-first attitude over recent weeks. Again, perhaps he sees Bevell now calling the shots and feels it should be his opportunity. The Detroit Lions need to remove any toxic players, coaches and hopes to rebuild or establish a new culture.
No one remembers the career record of a special teams coordinator, but they distinctly recall how many wins a head coach or quarterback can amass.