Right after the conclusion of the 2013 NFL regular season, Buffalo Bills head coach Doug Marrone was telling reporters that the team would emphasize finding core special teams players for unpopular coordinator Danny Crossman. The team has followed through on that promise, and Crossman appeared on The John Murphy Show on Wednesday evening to talk about some of the team's returning top specialists, as well as two of the new faces that will help in the kicking game.
Crossman on Marcus Easley: "That’s a great example of a guy who stayed healthy, had an opportunity, and really excelled… He led the NFL in solo tackles last year in special teams, and was in the top three in total tackles. Hopefully, he continues to grow as a special teams player… Marcus is smart in terms of understanding what he’s seeing. He understands who is going to block him and how they’re going to block him based on film study during the week. He’s a physical player, plays well with his hands, and then has a great desire to get to the football."
Crossman on Ty Powell: "A player we picked up who really hadn’t done anything in the kicking game in his brief stay in Seattle in training camp. Was great in meetings; (he spent) extra time with the coaches. Once given the opportunity, you play him on two phases and he’s successful, makes a play. You play him on the third phase, more success. You play him on all four, more success. I want to say he was our fifth-leading tackler, and was only active for five games. Impressive quick run, so he’s a guy we think going forward, if he’s available to the kicking game, is going to be a good player."
Crossman on Corey Graham: "A highly productive football player. He’s exactly what a lot of organizations are looking for… During the course of his career (in Chicago), develops into a Pro Bowl, elite special teams player… Plays every special teams when he’s not a starter, and is still outstanding. A great example of a player who, the more jobs you give him and the more things you ask him to do, he shows that he can do all of them… To be a winning football team, you can’t have enough guys like that… He was an outstanding gunner in Chicago… He’s a guy that has a lot of versatility (on special teams)… He’s got good length, he’s got good speed, and like we talked about with Marcus, he’s got an unbelievable desire to get to the ball. He doesn’t think anybody can block him."
Crossman on Anthony Dixon: "To find a four-phase - meaning, we talk about the big four phases, kick return, punt return, punt and kickoff - a guy, as a running back, that can play all four of those teams… to be able to get four phases from a running back is hard."
Crossman, like wide receiver T.J. Graham on the player side of the coin, is a popular target of vitriol in the Bills fan base, so we strongly encourage you to listen to the full interview between Murphy and Crossman from earlier this week. It may not change your feelings toward him at all, but it never hurts to better understand where a guy is coming from, right?