There’s a lot to like about the Lions after two weeks. The offensive looks new and creative, while the defense gave up only 10 points to a very good offense in their last matchup. However, it’s the Lions’ special teams that has been atrocious through two weeks.
Special teams coach John Bonamego joined the team back in late January for his second stint with the Detroit Lions, and the results have been less than ideal. So far through two weeks, the Lions rank 31st in special teams DVOA via Football Outsiders. They ranked 19th in 2018.
Jamal Agnew, the team’s starting return specialist, has had a rough start to the year and was benched against the Chargers. Matt Prater uncharacteristically missed a couple of kicks last week, and the team’s special teams coverage units have gotten called for flags on seemingly every play.
Football is a three-phase game, and if the Lions want to survive this brutal early portion of their schedule, they’re going to need to clean things up on special teams, or else changes will likely be made.
Today’s Question of the Day is:
Will the Lions clean up their special teams mistakes against the Eagles?
My answer: Here is a list of how Bonamego’s special teams units have fared in the NFL during his stints as a special teams coordinator, using Football Outsiders’ DVOA metric.
2002: 18th (Jaguars)
2003: 13th (Packers)
2004: 14th (Packers)
2005: 30th (Packers)
2006: 14th (Saints)
2007: 25th (Saints)
2008: 29th (Dolphins)
2009: 9th (Dolphins)
2010: 29th (Dolphins)
2012: 25th (Jaguars)
2013: 20th (Lions)
2014: 31st (Lions)
Those results are pretty bad. Bonamego has only had a top-10 special teams unit once in his career as a special teams coordinator, and that year almost looks like an accident when you consider the year before and year after with the Dolphins. During his other multi-year stints, the team’s special teams unit regressed pretty significantly, too.
I’m not really expecting the Lions to turn things around on special teams under Bonamego, and I wouldn’t really be surprised if he was let go during the season. Hopefully the issues get resolved as early as today against the Eagles, but I’m not feeling nice and bubbly about it.