I don’t think any Detroit Lions coach has gotten more praise this year than special teams coordinator Brayden Coombs. Not only have the Lions been phenomenal on special teams this year, sporting one of the best coverage units on the team, but Coombs was one of the most professional during media sessions, as well.
So it comes as a completely shock that on Monday morning, the Lions announced they have fired Coombs with just two games remaining in the 2020 season.
Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press tried to provide some clarity on Twitter.
“Per a source, this was an organizational decision that had been building, and culminated with his decision yesterday to call for a fake punt,” Birkett tweeted.
With 12 minutes remaining in Sunday’s game against the Titans, Coombs dialed up a fake punt that came up a yard short. The decision was made with the Lions down 14 points, and by failing to convert the Lions gave the Titans the ball on Detroit’s 34-yard line. They quickly pushed their lead to 21 points, making the game a rout.
Justin Rogers of the Detroit News is reporting that Coombs went rogue in that moment. Per Rogers’ sources, Coombs dialed up the fake punt without consulting anyone else on the team.
Lions made a seemingly stunning decision to fire Brayden Coombs. I've been told by a source in the organization that this was a cultural decision and yesterday's fake punt, which Coombs called without running it by anyone else, was what sealed the decision.— Justin Rogers (@Justin_Rogers) December 21, 2020
The way it was explained to me, the feeling within the organization is Coombs was more about himself than the team. https://t.co/Iia9tjypuT— Justin Rogers (@Justin_Rogers) December 21, 2020
There was always a good chance every coach currently on the team was about to get replaced when the Lions make their decision on a new head coach and general manager, but this is still a shocking development considering many were hoping Coombs would stick around in 2021.
UPDATE: Per Birkett, Lions assistant special teams coordinator Marquice Williams will take over.
UPDATE 2: Lions punt/kick returner Jamal Agnew is not happy:
What we doin man, cmon— Mal (@jamalagnew) December 21, 2020