By Danny Cox
The Detroit Lions have seen their fair share of ups and downs this season, but a lot more of the latter. Still, there have been a number of bright spots and high moments, but unfortunately there have been more issues pointed out than anything. While the running game is virtually nonexistent, the special teams play has been almost just as bad and head coach Jim Caldwell takes the blame.
Even though there are special teams coaches and certain players assigned to that area of the game, Caldwell feels as if the poor play and problems fall on him.
"That's my job to get that straightened out," Lions coach Jim Caldwell said. "I have not done a very good job of that. We've had a couple issues in a couple different situations that have occurred. Communication wasn't great, and that's my job to get it straightened away."
He's speaking primarily of two instances in last week's loss to the Green Bay Packers.
In the second quarter, the Lions had just 10 men on the field (instead of 11) during a punt. Later in the fourth quarter, a crucial and important time out had to be used because Manny Ramirez was late running out for a field goal attempt.
Yes, there were reasons for both of those miscues.
For the second quarter punt, the Lions kept a majority of their regular defense on the field in case the Packers decided to run a fake on fourth-and-1. As for the fourth quarter field goal, Michael Ola had already left the game due to a left knee injury and it forced Ramirez to head out in his place.
Earlier this season, the Lions had 10 men on the field for two different Green Bay Packers field goal attempts. One was actually the potential game winner that the Packers kicked as time expired, but the Lions still ended up winning the game.
One week later, tight end Brandon Pettigrew ran onto the field late for a punt and it brought forth a penalty for an illegal formation.
Again, there are certain coaches leading that department, but Caldwell will not put the blame on special teams coordinator Joe Marciano. The same attitude was taken by Caldwell earlier this season when the Lions were struggling on offense and he refused to place blame on offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi.
Caldwell said he's "not doing a very good job" and that he has "got to get better. I've got to get better at my job."
In recent weeks, the Detroit Lions have won three of four games and Caldwell has gotten better at his job, but it's still not going to save this season. Responsibility does ultimately fall on the head coach, but there have been a number of players, coaches, and others who simply have not been very good at their job this season.
A bright spot though is that there may be hope for next season as things are finally seeming to come around.
Danny Cox knows a little something about the NFL, whether it means letting you know what penalty will come from the flag just thrown on the field or quickly spouting off who the Chicago Bears drafted in the first round of the 1987 draft (Jim Harbaugh). He plans on bringing you the best news, previews, recaps, and anything else that may come along with the exciting world of the National Football League. Danny is a freelance writer covering all things NFL. His work can be found on Examiner.com.
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