‘What We Doing?’ Lions’ Special Teams Ace Reacts to Firing

Jamal Agnew

Getty Jamal Agnew runs during a game against Tennessee.

The Detroit Lions made a surprising move on Monday morning, sacking successful special teams coach Brayden Coombs following a loss to the Tennessee Titans, and naturally the decision made plenty of waves within the organization.

One person that was particularly interested? Detroit wideout and return man Jamal Agnew. After the firing was revealed, Agnew hopped on Twitter to defend his coach, and also shared some frustration with regard to the decision making of the organization in this particular case.

Agnew being unhappy about the move is certainly notable. The returner has been one of the best players on special teams this season along with punter Jack Fox. Clearly, he had a bond with his position coach and seeing him get fired has to be frustrating for Agnew.


Jamal Agnew Stats

The Lions uncovered a potential hidden gem when they found Agnew in the fifth-round of the draft in 2017. He quickly burst on the scene as an electric returner and in his career has managed to rack up 916 return yards in his career with three touchdowns. 2 of Agnew’s touchdowns came in his rookie season, when he was named an All-Pro special teams player. In 2019, the Lions managed to get a 100 yard kickoff return for a score from Agnew to help in defeating the Philadelphia Eagles on the road.

Agnew’s stats as a cornerback are much more limited given he hasn’t played much there through the years. In his career in the NFL, he has only defended a pass and has 28 combined tackles to his credit. Obviously, the Lions prefer to save Agnew for the special teams given his electrifying moves. This season, they moved him to wideout and have gotten a 89 yard season from Agnew on 12 receptions at wideout.

Agnew’s skills have translated no matter who is coaching him, but it’s very clear that he was unhappy with his team’s latest move.


Lions Fired Brayden Coombs

Detroit revealed they had relieved special teams coordinator Brayden Coombs of his duties. Coombs had been hired last offseason by the Lions and Matt Patricia to take over a special teams group which was struggling on the field, and thus far he has done that for the most part. Coombs was merely the latest to get a pink slip, however.

Many had lauded Coombs for the role he’s played within the turnaround this season for Detroit’s special teams. Jack Fox has been arguably the best punter in football, Matt Prater has remained fairly consistent at kicker and the team’s return units have produced decent results lately while preventing opposing teams from getting too much going in the return game.

So why fire Coombs? According to those on the Lions’ beat, the team was unhappy about Coombs calling a fake punt without the knowledge of Darrell Bevell and the coaching staff in Detroit’s loss to Tennessee. That fake punt ended up not working out, and Detroit lost the game. Eventually, Coombs’ firing was made by Bevell and approved by Rod Wood.

More than the punt, though, Coombs was described to be more about himself than the team, making him a bad cultural fit.

The whole situation is a paradox considering special teams is the one part of the game the 2020 Lions can count on for the most part. There is little doubt Coombs will catch on somewhere else eventually considering his age, but he will likely have to answer for this abrupt exit in Detroit and the way it played out.

Obviously, the move didn’t please plenty within the team, and Agnew can be counted as a person that might not understand the move.

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