Detroit Lions fire special teams coordinator Brayden Coombs after fake punt call

Detroit Free Press

Dave Birkett
 
| Detroit Free Press

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The Detroit Lions fired special teams coordinator Brayden Coombs on Monday, a day after he called an unauthorized fake punt against the Tennessee Titans.

Coombs, 34, was in his first season with the Lions after spending 10 years with the Cincinnati Bengals.

On Sunday, with the Lions trailing 32-18 early in the fourth quarter, they ran a fake punt on fourth-and-4 at their own 31-yard line.

C.J. Moore took a direct snap from Don Muhlbach and ran to the short side of the field, where he was stopped inches short of a first down.

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The Titans took possession at the Lions’ 34-yard-line and scored six plays later to break open the game.

Asked about the call after the game, interim Lions coach Darrell Bevell said: “As far as the decision, the punt, we like some of the fakes that we had. We feel like our (personal protector) is a guy that’s got some good speed, have an opportunity to have the edge blocked and get him on the edge, so we ended up going with that. We could have definitely left the offense out there as well.”

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Under Coombs, the third special teams coordinator the Lions had one of the NFL’s best punting units. Jack Fox ranks second in with a 45.3-yard net punting average and the Lions have three blocked punts and a blocked extra point.

Several Lions players reacted unfavorably to the news on Twitter.

“What we doin man, cmon,” return man Jamal Agnew wrote on Twitter.

“Wowww,” wrote safety Jayron Kearse.

A Lions source said the team’s decision to move on from Coombs was more about culture fit than performance, and had been a long time in the making. He is the first assistant to be fired since the Lions parted ways with head coach Matt Patricia and general manager Bob Quinn last month.

Reached by cell phone Monday morning, Coombs said he was cleaning out his office and would return a call to the Free Press later in the day.

Marquice Williams will take over as special teams coordinator.

Contact Dave Birkett at dbirkett@freepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @davebirkett. 

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