Lions make surprising decision to part with special teams coordinator Brayden Coombs

Detroit News

Justin Rogers
 
| The Detroit News

Not much has gone well for the Detroit Lions this season, but one area where the team has consistently excelled was on special teams.

That wasn’t enough to save first-year coordinator Brayden Coombs, who was fired Monday after the team’s 45-26 loss to the Tennessee Titans

According to a team source, organizational frustration had been brewing with Coombs for some time, with a belief the coordinator was overly focused on self-promotion. But it was a rogue, in-game decision against the Titans that was allegedly the final straw. 

The source explained that Coombs called a fourth-quarter fake punt without consulting other members of the coaching staff, and not even all 11 players on the field were aware of the play call. The fake, a direct snap to safety C.J. Moore, failed to secure a first down, turning the ball back to the Titans with the Lions already down 14. 

The Detroit News has reached out to Coombs for comment.

Amidst the cultural concerns, it’s difficult to question the production Coombs got out of his players after joining the Lions this offseason. The biggest success has been Detroit’s punting and coverage units. 

Jack Fox, in his first season as the team’s punter, is averaging 45.3 yards net on his 49 boots. If he can keep that up, he’ll set the franchise mark, while barely being off pace for the league record.

Additionally, return man Jamal Agnew ranks in the top-10 in both kickoff and punt return averages. Finally, the Lions have also blocked three kicks this season, two punts and an extra point. 

jdrogers@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @Justin_Rogers

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