The Buffalo Bills have fired special teams coordinator Danny Crossman, per several simultaneous reports (among them Matthew Fairburn of The Athletic, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, John Wawrow of The Associated Press, Mike Rodak from ESPN, and Jay Skurski of The Buffalo News). Rumors of the firing began circulating on social media around the same time as word escaped that Juan Castillo had been fired. Crossman had been orchestrating Buffalo’s special teams since 2013, operating through three different coaching regimes (four if you count interim head coach Anthony Lynn).
Special teams arguably cost the Bills a game or two this year. A missed field goal, aborted extra point, and an awful onside kick contributed to a 24-12 loss to the New England Patriots. In a loss to the New York Jets, two touchdowns resulted from outstanding field position on kickoff returns against the Bills, and the team missed two field goals in a 23-27 loss. Against the Miami Dolphins, missed kicks cost a net four points, and a fumbled punt return gifted Miami an easy touchdown drive in a game with a four-point scoring margin. Any way you look at it, gaffes defined the group this season.
Crossman’s special teams units suffered from major injuries to the key players this year. Kicker Stephen Hauschka played through an injury for the final quarter of the season. After starting the season 17-of-19 on field goal attempts, Hauschka finished the year 5-of-9. Captain Taiwan Jones went onto injured reserve halfway through the season with a neck injury. The team tried out four different punters this year, with rookie Cory Carter dropping onto injured reserve during the preseason just as he’d created a battle with incumbent Colton Schmidt. Rookie Corey Bojorquez was signed as the new starter, suffered a shoulder injury in October, and was placed on injured reserve after trying unsuccessfully to play through the injury for three weeks. Schmidt returned to the roster, but was cut for ineffectiveness, and journeyman punter Matt Darr finished the season for the team in poor form.