LIONS INSIDER

KEY QUESTIONS: How will Lions handle punting situation?

Posted Sep 11, 2017

Tim Twentyman covers all the key questions from Jim Caldwell's Monday press conference.

New challenges pop up every week for teams in the NFL, and they simply have to find a way adjust on the fly.

That’s certainly the case in Detroit this week when it comes to their punter situation. Sam Martin is on NFI (non-football injury) for the first six weeks of the season, and now Kasey Redfern has suffered a significant knee injury that’s expected to sideline him the rest of the year.

That means the Lions are on punter No. 3 for the season just one week into the new year. Expect the team to work out a number of punters this week and have one signed before practice begins Wednesday.

What are the unique challenges of bringing in a punter Week 2?

He’ll have to be a quick study on how special teams coordinator Joe Marciano likes to run those units. It will also be interesting to see if the Lions work him in as the holder, or continue to go with backup quarterback Jake Rudock there.

“I don’t think it’s any more difficult than any other spot on the team,” Lions head coach Jim Caldwell said during his Monday press conference. “I think there’s some that you could say are even more difficult than that.

"An offensive lineman coming in with 3,000 calls that are made and combination blocks and things of that nature. Secondary who understands their value to the football team is inversely (related) to their distance from the ball, the communication is extremely important. Quarterback coming in in a situation ... I can think of a lot of them that are a lot more difficult.

“But it’s just a matter of a guy doing his job, plain and simple. There will be some things he’s not going to know right away, we can limit that, but if he does his main job that’s what counts."

Sticking with special teams, Does Caldwell still have confidence in Dwayne Washington as a kickoff return man?

Washington made a bad decision to bring a bouncing ball out of the end zone in the first half, and had a couple other questionable plays on special teams. He returned two kickoffs in the first half for an average of just 15.5 yards. He was relived of kickoff duties in the second half by rookie cornerback Jamal Agnew.

“(Washington) didn’t make the best decision in that regard, I mean there’s no way of getting around that one,” Caldwell said. “But don’t expect not to see him back there again, OK. That’s what I would like to say to you, he’s a young guy. He’ll learn, and he’ll adjust and sometimes experience can be a little painful at times but it does teach great lessons.”

Will DJ Hayden and Nevin Lawson continue to rotate at cornerback opposite Darius Slay?

Caldwell said earlier last week that we would see Hayden, a free-agent acquisition in the offseason, at times in this game.

Lawson got the start and played 32 snaps, or 43 percent of the game. Hayden actually played a little more, however. He played 41 snaps (55 percent).

“Every game is different in that regard, in terms of what goes forward, how we treat different games and individuals that we utilize, our packages or such,” Caldwell said.

“But anytime I think you get two guys that -- those two guys are very, very competitive. They provided some very good minutes for us during the course of the game and made some good plays for us as well. We’ll see how it goes from here on out but both guys certainly will be a factor for us.”

How was Detroit’s defense able to hold David Johnson and the Cardinals' offense to just 45 rushing yards?

“I could just tell you that any time you hold a team to 45 yards rushing, it’s a collective effort,” Caldwell said. “I think because our guys ran to the ball well. I think because they took care of their gaps.

“They played aggressively and I think those are the things that made a difference. And regardless of who we play, I think if you perform your duties properly within the context of the defense, that good things happen.”

After watching the film, what was Caldwell’s impression of rookie Kenny Golladay’s debut performance?

After a slow start that included a drop and an incomplete on a 50-50 ball, Golladay finished with four catches for 69 yards and two touchdowns, including a diving 45-yard grab.

“We’re a long way away from defining what he can do in this league because it’s one ballgame, but I do think that he’s got the right traits,” Caldwell said of his rookie pass catcher.

“He’s got speed, he’s got height, he’s got quickness and he’s got toughness. And obviously, we’ll see in the long run how many big plays he can make for us and that kind of thing, but he’s certainly capable.”