After seven (!) very solid years from Matt Prater, the Detroit Lions will need a new kicker this season. Gone too is return man Jamal Agnew and his four special teams touchdowns over the past four years. Jack Fox and Don Muhlbach, of course, are back with the team, but that is a lot of turnover for one offseason.
Special teams can often be overlooked, and usually the spotlight only comes on when things go wrong. Unfortunately, bringing newer players onto the special teams unit elevates the potential risk of those bad things happening. For a team that will likely struggle in the other two phases, the last thing Detroit needs is to struggle in an area where it has found recent success.
Today’s Question of the Day is:
Will the Lions get consistency out of their special teams unit?
My answer: Prater hit just 75 percent of his field goals last season, which was his lowest mark since 2008. His presumed replacement, Randy Bullock, has hit at least 80 percent in each of the past seven seasons, though kickers are never a sure thing. He still has to even win the job during camp.
Meanwhile, losing Agnew will surely cause the team to take a step back in the return game. Kalif Raymond seems like the best candidate to replace him, but he has never found the end zone on a return. Neither has Victor Bolden, another potential option for the role. Even if the Lions can piece together the job, it will be hard to replicate previous production.