When the Detroit Lions first met the Minnesota Vikings this season, their special teams coverage unit was embarrassed for a second consecutive week. The Lions surrendered two returns for touchdowns, just like they did against the Tennessee Titans a week earlier. The mishaps cost the Lions the game and resulted in people calling for special teams coordinator Danny Crossman's job.
Since then, there hasn't been a lot of talk about the coverage unit, which is a good thing. They haven't allowed any scores since Week 4, so there hasn't been a need to talk about it. Much like a long snapper, you usually never hear about the coverage unit unless something bad happens.
In the wake of their win over the Lions, Vikings head coach Leslie Frazier basically said that he expected his team to score on a kick return because of what they saw on film. It was really an indictment of how poorly things were going for the special teams unit, but Frazier actually had praise for them on Tuesday. It seems that the Lions have managed to shake off their early-season woes by making adjustments, and Frazier thinks the unit is now performing at a much higher level.
Frazier on Lions special teams: "They're much improved ... It's a different special teams unit than we saw"— Dave Birkett (@davebirkett) November 7, 2012
This is obviously good to hear, but the real test will be on Sunday when the Lions take on the Vikings again. All of this improvement can be washed away with one bad return, so it's vital that the Lions keep improving and continue to keep opponents from breaking off big returns.