Danny Crossman addresses Detroit Lions' special teams problems
By Anwar S. Richardson | email@example.com
on October 04, 2012 at 10:33 AM
ALLEN PARK -- The Detroit Lions' special teams unit given up four touchdowns over in two recent games, and coordinator Danny Crossman addressed the media this morning.
Here is the entire transcript of that conversation:
Q: Is it hard to prepare when your team doesn't have live practices?
A: Whether things are going good or bad, that's just how you have to practice. Whether it's high school, college, or the NFL. The key is as a coach, my responsibility is to find a way to get techniques taught, get fundamentals taught when you can't do it live. It's just the way it is. It's that way for every team. I just got to do a better good of getting that done with the guys we have.
Q: Brian Billick said your guys do have that "want to" on special teams. Do you agree?
A: I don't think that's a problem. That's what Brian Billick says. I don't concern myself with what other people say. We got our guys. It is my job to get them to play good. End of story. To find ways to help our team to win games. This game is only fun if you win. It doesn't matter about anything else. As a coach, your only job is to help win games. End of story.
Q: Has there been a common thread over the past two games?
A: There's not a common thread. The common thread is I have to do a better job. Whatever the breakdowns are, it's my responsibility to get that stuff fixed. That's what we're working on. That's what we will get done.
Q: Are the problems schematic or execution?
A: It's just a problem. It's my problem as the coach. My name is on it. I will get it corrected.
Q: What do you think about people calling for your job?
A; I don't pay any attention to any of that stuff. Sorry. I don't read you guys' stuff. I don't pay any attention to it. My job is for the Detroit Lions is to do the best job I can to win games. That's the National Football League. That's professional sports. You look back over the years, and there's always people calling for people's heads. That's just the way it is. That's what we signed up for. I don't have a problem with that.
Q: Does that mean you need personnel changes and should mix up some guys?
A: I know that I have to get it done, whether it's personnel, whether it's what we're doing, how we're doing it, but it's all how I am getting it taught. I'm a teacher. If you're a teacher and half the kids are flunking your exams, you got to find a way to teach the kids better. They're your kids. Teach them better. Find a way to get it done, and that's what I'm going to do.
Q: Using that example, how much heat is on you from the principal (Jim Schwartz)?
A: There's no heat. The heat is to win games. The heat is outside. We're going to get it done. End of story. I don't worry about anything else. I worry about finding ways to win games. Whatever we have to do to win games. That's what our job is.
Q: Have you changed your depth chart this week?
A: I'm not talking about what we're doing. We're having a good week of practice. We're getting ready for Philadelphia, and that's what our whole focus is. That's the beautiful thing about the National Football League, whether you do good, whether you do bad, they don't care. There's another one coming up and that's what we're preparing for.
Q: Jason Hanson called the coverage garbage and felt it was a failure to be forced to bloop kick. Do you agree with that?
A: That's Jason Hanson's opinion. He's entitled to whatever opinion he has. We're working to get (pause) ... and whatever we have to do to win games, that's all we're going to do. That's what everybody does. Every coach. Every team. Find a way to win games because that's what we're here for.
Q: Were those bloop kicks your call or Jim's call?
A: That was our call. That was the Detroit Lions' call.
Q: What kind of added emphasis did you put on coverage after the Titans game? Did you see the same errors in the Titans or Vikings game?
A: Things were different. Again, I know this sounds (pause) ... Whatever we do, we got to find ways to win games. You can talk scheme all you want. You can talk players all you want. Everything goes together. You got to get everybody playing together, doing the right things to be successful. It doesn't matter what phase of the game it is. It doesn't matter what sport it is, and as the coach, it's my job to get that right. End of story.
Q: Stefan Logan said he knows people will talk about this unit, but you're his coach. What does it mean to you that players still have faith in what you're doing?
A: Again, whatever the players say, that is their opinion. Whether it's good, whether it's bad. They're human beings. They're grown men. They can feel what they want. I have great confidence in my ability. I have great confidence in our players. My job is to get them to play good as a group, to execute what we're doing, whatever that may be. Whatever scheme, whatever plan, and find ways to win games.
Q: Are you saying it falls on you because you can't go out and get better players?
A: It doesn't matter to me who the players are. Every year, you got different players. In the kicking game, that's how it normally is. Whether you're having success, or whether you're not having success, your guys are your guys. We're going to play with them, we're going to get them right, and the only way to do that is for me to find a way to reach every one of the guys that are involved and find a way to get them to click so we put ourselves in position to win games.
Q:Has there ever been a player you asked to play special teams that said no?
Q: How many missed tackles did you count on that punt return against Minnesota?
A: Several. Several.
Q: The Vikings said they were expecting that first kickoff to be where it was. Are you worried you're being too predictable?
A: No. Every play designed, if you ask every coach, every play you design is because of something you think is going to work. They ran that same return against us a year ago and got to the 12-yard line. Every play the offense draws up, you think you have a chance to make a play. That's why you draw it up. Every defense you run, you run it because you think you have a chance to make a play. That's what you do from 5 o'clock in the morning to midnight every night. Find ways to think you give yourself an advantage. It comes down to coach coaching guys up and guys going and making plays. That's the name of the game.
Q: Did the 2002 Michigan State season prepare you for this adversity?
A: When you're in this business, there's always adversity. The good things, the bad things, they all come and they go. It's week-to-week in this business. I don't concern myself with any of that. All I know is I got to get them better. We got to get better as a team. We got to get better as a group. I got to get better as a coach. If we can do that, hopefully we have a chance to be successful.
Q: How important is chemistry on each unit? Can you keep the same guys together week-to-week?
A: You'd like to. It could be a great thing when you're able to have that continuity. You know you're going to have the same group play in the same spot. I don't care what position you're talking about. You can go ask the offensive coordinator, or the offensive line coach, or the defensive coordinator, would they love to have the same 11 guys at the same spot every week? Yeah. But the reality is, it doesn't always work that way. Would it be nice? Yeah. But we're going to play with who got. We're going to get them better, and we're going to have some success.
Q: Do you look forward to your guys doing your job, helping the team win, and going back into anonymity?
A: Love anonymity. Love it. That's what I tell my kids all the time. They say, "Daddy, we don't ever see you on TV." That's a good thing. You don't want to see that. I chose this. I love it. Good, bad, it's what I do. The bottom line is, and I don't care about any of this stuff. I told some people this. All my job is, however it works out, is to help the team win. I'm telling you, it ain't no fun unless you win. Even then, it's not always fun, but you got to find ways to win. That's the only thing you're judged on. The head coach on this team. Jim Schwartz, he's the only won that has it at the end of his name. Danny Crossman is not 1-3. I'm part of that, but Jim Schwartz has to live with that 1-3. We got to find ways to win games.
Q: Does your task get harder when you're facing Philadelphia's DeSean Jackson and Chicago's Devin Hester in back-to-back weeks?
A: It's the NFL. My task is hard every week. There's good players. There's great players. There's good players. They're all in the National Football League for a reason. Does it get easier? No, but that's the NFL. That's why it's such a popular deal. It's fun.
Q:Is part of your difficulty is you are only judged on a small amount of plays?
A: That's the nature of the beast. It's one-and-done. Is there more emphasis on it? I don't know. Is there more highlight on it? I don't know. I know this. Every play, you got to get the most out of that play. It doesn't matter if you're offense, defense, special teams. There's less plays, so there's probably more highlight on it, because if something goes good, or something goes bad, it's magnified because it is one-and-done. It's all the same They all count the same. All points count the same.
Q: You say your job is to help the team win, but the special teams coverage in the last game is why you lost. The defense only allowed six points. How much does it bother you that your guys are factoring into losses?
A: That's me, and I don't talk about me. My job is to find a way for good things to happen so we win games. Do people talk about bad things after a loss? It's just not as magnified. You said it. It comes down to winning or losing. That's what we have to do. Find ways to win games.
Q: Is using more starters on special teams an option at all?
A: That's personnel. I'm not going to talk about personnel.
Q: Do you have a plan in place or are you still searching?
A: We always have a plan. We're always working toward that plan. We'll find out in a week when we get to go out and perform and see where we're at, and that's the beautiful thing about this game. http://www.mlive.com/lions/index.ssf/20 ... detro.html