ALLEN PARK — Danny Crossman would love to do his job in complete anonymity because that means he is doing it well.
“Love anonymity. I tell my kids all the time (when they say), ‘Daddy we don’t see you on TV.’ That’s a good thing,’’ Crossman said on Thursday.
The Lions special teams coordinator is under fire because in the last two weeks the opponents have returned a kickoff and a punt in each game for touchdowns. The Lions are the only team to allow that since statistics started being kept in 1940 according to STATS LLC.
The people who matter have faith in Crossman. Coach Jim Schwartz made that clear earlier in the week.
“There is no heat, the heat is to win game. The heat is outside,’’ Crossman said. ‘We’re going to get it done, end of story.’’
He doesn’t read the papers or listen to the radio. Crossman knows he has problems and it’s on him to get them fixed.
After the loss to the Vikings, Minnesota coach Leslie Frazier said they knew if they held their blocks that Percy Harvin could score on the kickoff return after watching film from Tennessee’s success.
Schwartz disputed that on Monday. Crossman agrees with his boss.
“They ran that same return against us a year ago and got to the 12-yard line,’’ Crossman said.
Being a special teams coach presents special challenges. There’s no practicing live at full speed and there’s not much say in personnel — offense and defense traditionally get first choice.
Often NFL players have never played on special teams because they were the big guns in college and were not relegated to special teams duty.
Chemistry is just wishful thinking because quite often players are changed week to week depending on injuries and the needs on offense and defense.
Crossman, who is in his third season with the Lions, is good with all of that. It’s part of the job. And as a stand-up coach, he takes all of the blame for recent failures.
“I know that I have to get it done whether it’s personnel, whether it’s what we’re doing, how we’re doing it, it’s all how I’m getting it taught,’’ Crossman said.
“I’m a teacher, if you’re a teacher and half the kids are flunking your exams you have to find a way to teach your kids better,’’ he added.
He would not get into specifics, although when asked how many tackles were missed on the punt return Sunday he said “several” and he said it twice.
He said there was not a common thread to the breakdowns. Clearly on the kickoff return on Sunday it was a matter of missed assignments with players not staying in their lanes. On the punt return it was missed tackles.
“There’s not a common thread. The common thread is I have to do a better job. Whatever it may be, whatever the breakdowns are it is my responsibility to get all of that stuff fixed,’’ Crossman said. “That’s what we’re working on, that’s what we’ll get done.’’
The players are off until Tuesday for the bye weekend. Then they’ll get back to work in preparation for playing at the Philadelphia Eagles on Oct. 14.
Crossman, though, won’t get so much time off. He’ll be looking for ways to get the job done better. He would not say if he’s making personnel moves.
“Whether you’re having success or whether you’re not having success, your guys are your guys. We’re going to play with them, we’re going to get them right,’’ Crossman said. “The only way to do that, is for me to reach every one of the guys involved and find a way to get them to click so we put ourselves in position to win games.’’
(Paula Pasche covers the Lions. Follow her on Twitter @PaulaPasche. Read her Lions Lowdown blog at oplions.blogspot.com.)