It's tough to swallow the 2nd worst Special Teams unit, especially since one of the few bright spots this team has had over the years was Special Teams. The unit arguably cost us the win in Cleveland as Travis Benjamin had 179 yards and 1 Touchdown on punt returns. That's over 25 yards per punt return!
Doug Marrone went on record saying "we knew going into the year that it was going to be a difficult situation for him." Why? The Buffalo Special Teams of 2012 was ranked 9th. How is it that the unit was in such terrible shape after having such a successful 2012 campaign? Marrone stated "one of the things that we have to establish is a core. Our goal is to have six of those type of players. When you have about six core special teams players that are playing on three to four teams for you, now you have the ability to perform at a high level."
So Marrone gave Crossman a vote of confidence in stating that the team needs six core special teamers. That should be a clear indication of how the team will approach the off-season as they invest more into special teams players, which will obviously take away from the the players who will make their impact on the offensive or defensive side of the ball.
Marrone even took it a step further by saying "I think that if everyone is on board with the coaches that we have here now and being able to implement that, then I don’t foresee many changes." Well, that's certanly true. While WR coach Ike Hilliard and ILB coach Chuck Driesbach are out, Crossman still has a job. The best part is, this isn't the first time Crossman's unit finished 2nd to last. In 2012 he was the Special Teams Coordinator for the Detroit Lions, his team finished 31st that year as well.
His unit's rankings on a yearly basis per Football Outsiders:
- Buffalo (2013) - 30th
- Detroit (2012) - 30th
- Detroit (2011) - 29th
- Detroit (2010) - 11th
- Carolina (2009) - 29th
- Carolina (2008) - 10th
- Carolina (2007) - 30th
- Carolina (2006) - 24th
- Carolina (2005) - 5th
In 9 seasons as a Special Teams Coordinator, Crossman's teams have finished 24th or worse 6 times. His teams haven't finished better than 29th in 3 consecutive seasons. It makes you wonder what's going through Doug Marrone's mind with the decision to hire and retain Crossman. We all know the link between him and Nate Hackett, but Marrone also has history with Crossman, which is most likely why he got the job with Buffalo, despite his terrible track record.
I've said it many times, a Special Teams coach is one of the easiest coaching jobs in the NFL. When you consider the amount of plays that special teams players actually contribute in any given game, it fades in comparison to that of the offense or defense. Despite this, Crossman still cannot create a respectable team on a consistent basis. He has had a good units 3 times, but a terrible unit 6 times. Now Marrone is convinced the team needs 6 core special teamers, which will most likely result in a good portion of our acquisitions being tied to special teams, rather than fixing the run defense or offense.