Miles Killebrew has found his niche in the NFL. He's become one of the better special teams players in the league, finishing second in the NFL last season with 15 special teams tackles. He also provides value as a reserve defender at both safety and linebacker.
Killebrew is a big fan of new Lions special teams coordinator Brayden Coombs and some of the new schemes Coombs is implementing in Detroit.
Coombs, 33, came over to run Detroit's special teams this offseason after being an assistant for the Bengals' special teams since 2012.
"I've been here long enough to have different special teams coaches and I would say one of the things that is unique to coach Coombs is our punt protection," Killebrew said. "That's something that I had to make an adjustment in my game because it's a completely different punt protection and guys across the board have had to adjust and it's fun.
"It's fun learning a new system and it's fun learning new responsibilities. I can say we're eager to get it down pat and to really absorb every little facet of this new system."
Killebrew said Coombs is an aggressive-style coach, and Detroit will be experimenting with new philosophies on special teams more than they ever have since Killebrew entered the league as a fourth-round pick in 2016.
The Lions were good on special teams a year ago, finishing 10th in Rick Gosselin's annual rankings of special teams units based on 22 different categories. It certainly helps to have a kicker like Matt Prater and a return man like Jamal Agnew. The Lions were also one of the best cover units as well, led by Killebrew, linebacker Jalen Reeves-Maybin and safety C.J. Moore.
The hope is for Coombs to come in and make them even better.
He's certainly brought an infectious personality and a lot of energy to the special teams room. It's not unusual to see Coombs running up and down the field with his units in practice.
"You know, you can ask the guys around here in the building, I have a hard time sitting still in general, but particularly at practice, just kind of the way I've always been," Coombs said. "I'm definitely not an up-in-the-sky-lift kind of coach. I like to get in the mix, be around the guys and kind of feel their speed, try to feel and see the same things that they are seeing and feeling.
"There's different ways and different angles to coach from, but that's kind of the one that works for me and I think it also lets them know, 'Hey, like, let's go. This is how we practice.' We're not going through the motions. There's a time and a place for walkthrough and do tempo things, but when we're out there competing, and we're out there kind of developing the play speed that we want to be about, I want to encourage that and make sure that they know, 'Hey, and definitely, don't ever let me be out in front of you, right?' That would be a problem.
"So, just kind of the way I've always done things and probably the way that I always will. Everybody's different, but for me to be true to myself, that's kind of how I'm always going to coach."