As part of our season wrap-up series, we are going to examine how each player on the roster performed in 2013. Let's bring the series to an end with a look at the Detroit Lions' special teams players.
David Akers - 16 games | 19-24 FG (2 blocked), 42-43 XP (1 blocked) | 14 kickoffs, 7 TB, 61.6 avg.
Akers had the tough task of beating out fan favorite Havard Rugland in training camp and the even tougher task of replacing Jason Hanson. Essentially every mistake Akers made was heavily scrutinized, but his numbers weren't actually that bad by season's end. He missed only 5 field goals, and a couple of his misses were the result of poor blocking in front of him. Also, his only missed extra point was the result of an awful decision to kick in the snow in Philadelphia. Akers wasn't great by any means, and the Lions don't seem to be interested in bringing him back, but it's not like he was the worst kicker in the NFL.
Sam Martin - 16 games | 72 punts (1 blocked), 47.2 avg., 40.4 net avg. | 70 kickoffs, 38 TB, 67.3 avg. | 2 carries, 3 yards, 1 lost fumble
As a rookie, Martin was the Lions' kickoff specialist (until the end of the season when he was limited by an injury) and starting punter. He did quite well on kickoffs, and he finished sixth in the NFL in yards per punt. His net average was 10th in the NFL, and generally speaking he helped upgrade the special teams units in a big way. Yes, there were a few bad moments -- a botched hold in the season opener, a very untimely bad punt against Cincinnati and some kickoffs that went out of bounds -- but hopefully those mistakes will become even more of a rarity in his second NFL season.
Don Muhlbach - 16 games
There was no trip to the Pro Bowl for Muhlbach this past season, but there were no complaints about his snaps, either. With the latter part in mind, I'd call 2013 a success for the Lions' long snapper.