Special teams play for the Lions will have a completely new look for the 2013 season. Here are the five major special teams changes:
1. John Bonamego has been hired to replace Danny Crossman as special teams coordinator. Bonamego is a veteran with stops along the way at Green Bay, Jacksonville, New Orleans and Miami. He was with the Jaguars last season. New eyes, new ideas. Not a bad thing.
2. Jason Hanson retired after 21 seasons of being Mr. Dependable. There are fans who have never seen another placekicker on the field for the Lions. Veteran David Akers was signed to replace Hanson. He is coming off a lousy season in San Francisco, but could be a good replacement. Hanson wasn’t asked about Akers, but he offered his opinion that it was a good signing. We will see.
3. Kickalicious to the rescue. After signing Akers, the Lions signed Norwegian Havard Rugland, who is also known as Kickalicious because of a four-minute YouTube video displaying all his trick kicks. He’s never played football. At the rookie minicamp, he wore a helmet for the first time. Will be interesting to watch. Will the Lions keep him on for kickoffs only? Time will tell. Also another reason he was signed is that like Akers he is a lefty, which will make it easier for the holder.
4. Punting was a disaster last season. After Ben Graham was injured the Lions brought back Nick Harris who is a great guy but lacks the leg strength he used to have. They drafted Sam Martin in the fifth round and signed free agent punter Blake Clingan. They’ll battle it out in camp. Whoever wins will be another new face on the special teams roster.
5. Rumors of re-signing Kassim Osgood, a special teams specialist were out there. But it has not happened. He would be a huge loss. He excelled on all the units. He hasn’t signed anywhere else so maybe there’s a chance he’ll return. Keep up with him on Twitter @KassimOsgood81.