Evaluating The Detroit Lions Roster: Special Teams

DETROIT - AUGUST 27: Jason Hanson #4 of the Detroit Lions kicks a 33 yard field goal in the first quarter during the pre-season game against the New England Patroits at Ford Field on August 27, 2011 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)

The Detroit Lions special teams unit experienced an unexpected change at one position. The other three positions aren't any different, but that doesn't mean things were completely uneventful.

Kicker: Jason Hanson

Hanson returned after having his 2010 season ended early due to an injury. He was facing the prospect of having his starting job taken by Dave Rayner, but Hanson stepped up his game and was perfect for the Lions. He made all eight of his field goal attempts and all eight of his extra point attempts during the preseason, showing the Lions that he still has it. He will begin his 20th season in the league on Sunday.

Punter: Ryan Donahue

When training camp opened, all eyes were on the competition at kicker. Nobody expected Donahue, an undrafted free agent from Iowa, to unseat Nick Harris. That's exactly what he did, though. Donahue showed enough to the coaches during the preseason to become the Lions' starting punter and holder, and he will begin his first season in the league on Sunday.

Long Snapper: Don Muhlbach

Unlike kicker and punter, there was absolutely no uncertainty at long snapper for the Lions this offseason. Muhlbach has been Mr. Consistent for the Lions for the last seven years, and he is back for his eighth season with the team this year.

Returner: Stefan Logan

Logan had an outstanding season last year and was a real game-changer for the Lions. The new kickoff rule could take him out of the game a bit this year, but its impact remains to be seen. Even if it does limit the damage Logan can do on kick returns, he will still have a chance to make things happen on punt returns and on kick coverage, where he made some plays last year by recovering fumbles.

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