Twentyman: Detroit Lions on the lookout for a dynamic return man for 2013

Posted Feb 12, 2013

With Stefan Logan hitting the free agent market, the Detroit Lions will more than likely be on the lookout for a new return man

The Detroit Lions roster is likely to undergo a major overhaul this offseason, which is to be expected after a 4-12 season.

A result of that overhaul will be a lot of new faces on the bottom of the roster and that means a lot of fresh faces on special teams.

The Lions will probably be on the lookout for a new kick returner with Stefan Logan hitting the free agent market and the team not likely to try and retain his services.

An upgrade at punter is also needed, with a focus toward a player who could also handle kickoff duties.

If the Lions can find a dual-duty player with a big leg, veteran kicker Jason Hanson could remain a Detroit Lion for another year. Hanson, 42, is also a free agent.

The Detroit Lions have entrusted new special teams coordinator John Bonamego to oversee any and all changes this offseason. Bonamego takes over for Danny Crossman, who left the staff to join the Buffalo Bills.

"What I'll spend a lot of time on is looking at the roster and the different roles that guys played," the 14-year veteran Bonamego told "Like every (other) team in the league, the roster is always in a state of flux.

"That's why the way you communicate, how you practice, how you teach the fundamentals and relate those fundamentals to the techniques is very important."

Bonamego spent last year with the Jacksonville Jaguars, and had stops with the New Orleans Saints, Miami Dolphins and Green Bay Packers before that.

He has experience developing younger players for special teams roles. The Jaguars had the second-most snaps in the NFL taken by rookie players on special teams last year. The only team that took more was the Browns.

Bonamego says his coaching philosophy is pretty simple.

"Teach the fundamentals and effort and toughness are non-negotiable," he said.

The Lions were young and inexperienced on special teams early last season, making the wrong kind of headlines when they allowed both a punt return and kickoff return touchdown in the same game in back-to-back weeks against the Titans and Vikings early in the season.

The coverage units were better the rest of the way, allowing an average of 6.2 yards per punt return and 20.5 yards per kickoff return during the final 12 games.

The return game, however, never found traction.

Logan ranked last in the NFL in kick return average (21.3) and 16h in punt return average (9.1).

"I think that guys, when they're blocking, when they know that they have somebody back there that can break it they give just a little bit more," Bonamego said.

"That's really what you're asking from everyone. A little bit more effort. A little bit more attention to detail. A little more of everything and that can make a big difference."