Drilling in: Special Teams

© Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

Detroit Lions Special Teams unit analysis

SPECIAL TEAMS: K Matt Prater, P Sam Martin, P Ryan Santoso, LS Don Muhlbach, PR Jamal Agnew, KR Ameer Abdullah.

The Lions have few peers when it comes to special teams. Martin had a disappointing 2017 after he suffered a summer foot injury, but special teams coordinator Joe Marciano said Martin was back to his normal self this spring "hitting 5.0s (in hang time) out of the wazoo." Martin also handles kickoffs, and the Lions plan to tinker with ways to approach the league's new kickoff rules this preseason. Prater has made better than 85 percent of his field goals each of the last three seasons, and four of his five misses last year came from 50-plus yards. The Lions trust him from just about anywhere on the field, and he has a long history of clutch kicks. In the return game, Agnew electrified while taking two punts back for touchdowns last season, but those same skills weren't quite as evident on kickoff returns. The Lions will open the kick-return job up for competition from Abdullah and others in hopes of getting more bang out of a unit that ranked last in the NFL in 2017 and that Marciano said was a "direct reflection of bad coaching on my part."

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