Bills' Crossman continues to lead special teams

June 13, 2017 - 4:59 pm
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Orchard Park, NY (WGR 550) - Bills' special teams coordinator Danny Crossman has survived three different coaches. He was hired by his good friend Doug Marrone and retained by Rex Ryan and now Sean McDermott. “I’m fortunate that I’m still here with my third coaching staff and haven’t had to move,” Crossman said.

Crossman’s special teams in Detroit were not good and his first year in Buffalo was a complete bust. After that season the Bills decided to have some of the starters play on special teams and the units improved.

Crossman is the only coach held over from a pretty bad staff led by the Ryan brothers. He said, “It’s been outstanding so far. You never hope for change. Change is a part of this business, but the group that Sean has established here with this coaching staff. Everybody’s been outstanding to work with, great backgrounds, great history. Lot of different roles a lot these guys have done so it’s really made it enjoyable for me moving forward.”

There has been a lot of change to the Bills roster, so Crossman will once again have to adapt with some new players. He said, “We all know it, transition and changing and players, I mean that’s part of this business. You’d like to be able to really build something where you have a gradual progression of new-in. You know, those couple of true core guys as they age and they move either out because of age and/or they develop as a position guy, you constantly have those guys behind them to be able to establish and take over those roles. So if you have great competition throughout the roster, it’s really going to help you in my phase in terms of always having that next guy ready to step in.”

It's not all going to be new. Colt Anderson was brought in for special teams last season, but got injured. He's back this season and Crossman is glad he and some others are back, “To have Colt back, to add a guy like Andre Holmes, to have Lorenzo and Humber back, and bringing a couple young draft picks. I really feel good right now about where we’re going, now we got to develop it.”

Buffalo was not happy with kicker Dan Carpenter last season and cut him in favor of former Seattle kicker Stephen Hauschka. Hauschka is known for his work with the Seahawks, but he also had some experience with Crossman, “I was able to spend some time with Stephen in Detroit in 2010. Jason Hanson was our kicker, he was injured in training camp, we were able to bring Stephen in, and when we had to release Stephen as we got to the regular season, there was no doubt in my mind that Stephen had the skills and the ability, the mental and physical makeup to be a successful kicker in this league and we here we are seven years later and we’ve seen that.”

It’s interesting how decisions are made with starters on special teams. You don’t want to lose a key player to injury, but you don’t want to lose games due to poor special teams. Crossman said he likes how McDermott approaches this, “Sean’s vision is we’re going to play the best guys in every position to put us into position to win football games, but we’re going to do it smartly, where we’re going to maximize their performance.”

“Whether it’s a receiver, a running back, a linebacker, a safety, we want to get the best they have, in their offensive and defensive roles and they’re kicking game roles. We’re not going to put somebody out there just to have them out there, even though he’s really good but, he’s playing a lot of other plays. So we’re going to be smart in how we do it, to put ourselves in the best position to win games.”

In the return game Crossman mentionrd Brandon Tate, Micah Hyde and first round pick Tre White.

There is going to be competition for punter Colton Schmidt. Austin Rehkow is a rookie out of Idaho. Rehkow isn’t only a punter which could help his case, “Again, it’s straight up competition. He had a really good season at the University of Idaho, can do a little bit of everything which is really beneficial for us. His primary responsibility here is competing for the punting job, but having that ability to kick off, to kick field goals, to be able to take some of that pressure off of Stephen as he gets up there in years is going to be outstanding. But his primary goal is to compete with Colton and ideally, we get that at every spot, to compete to be the punter or any other position here with the Buffalo Bills.”

The Bills have two more days of mandatory mini-camp before taking some time off before training camp.

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