Danny Crossman has survived three different head coaches since being hired by the Buffalo Bills as special teams coordinator in 2014. After Doug Marrone bolted at the end of the 2014 season, Crossman was retained by Rex Ryan for both 2015 and 2016; he was then kept on by new head coach Sean McDermott for the upcoming season. The special teams coach spoke about his players earlier today, and he had some praise for veterans and rookies alike.
Crossman specifically mentioned veterans Leonard Johnson and Andre Holmes. The former is also expected to compete with Kevon Seymour (and possibly even Shareece Wright) for snaps as the team’s nickel corner, while the latter was assumed to be penciled in as one of the team’s top three wide receivers coming into camp. Johnson has done a fine job on defense, but Holmes has struggled at times early in camp with a receiver’s primary job—catching the football.
Any veteran who can contribute on special teams is a plus, but for rookies, it’s often a given that they will participate on special teams. Especially if those rookies are late-round selections, the road to an NFL roster almost always goes through coverage units. Crossman mentioned the team’s “recent draft picks” as other players who stand out among those on special teams. Matt Milano and Tanner Vallejo are almost certainly the player’s he’s discussing, and that bodes well for the two young linebackers selected in the fifth and sixth rounds, respectively, this past April.
While it’s certainly not a guarantee, having the ability to play well in two of the three phases of the game certainly makes a player more valuable, and makes his spot on the roster something that is far more secure than someone who only plays in one area.