Leave it to the Detroit Lions to make big news because of a special teams switch.
Lions leadership is being criticized by fans and now by players for its firing of Brayden Coombs as special teams coordinator.
Coombs, brought on this season by now-removed coach Matt Patricia, was relieved of his duties Monday after a failed fake punt in Sunday's loss to the Tennesee Titans.
Reports are that Coombs, who spent 10 seasons with the Cincinnati Bengals, was not a "cultural fit" for the organization and the firing was not simply because of the call to go for it.
On Sunday, with the Lions down 14 in the fourth quarter, they ran a fake punt on fourth-and-4 at their own 31-yard line.
C.J. Moore took a direct snap from Don Muhlbach and ran to the short side of the field, where he was stopped inches short of a first down.
Fans and media members have pointed out the Lions' success on special teams this year: multiple blocked kicks, an improving return game that recently popped a 71-yarder and strong season for punter Jack Fox.
Some Lions players took to Twitter to vouch for Coombs or cryptically question his removal.
"Thankful for the opportunities @BraydenCoombs gave me this season, guy won’t be on the market for long whoever gets him will be getting one hell of a coach," Lions linebacker Jason Cabinda tweeted.
"One of the Best coach i played for in the NFL. Team guy and player coach on and off the field. Great Energy and a man who will challenge you week in and out I’m lost for words. I’ll play for Brayden any day!" defensive back Tony McRae tweeted.
"Wowww," safety Jayron Kearse wrote in a now-deleted tweet.
"What we doin man, cmon," return man Jamal Agnew tweeted.
Thankful for the opportunities @BraydenCoombs gave me this season, guy won’t be on the market for long whoever gets him will be getting one hell of a coach ✊🏾✊🏾
— Jason Cabinda (@jasoncabinda) December 21, 2020
One of the Best coach i played for in the NFL. Team guy and player coach on and off the field. Great Energy and a man who will challenge you week in and out I’m lost for words. I’ll play for Brayden anyday!
— Tony Mcrae (@talibantone21) December 21, 2020
What we doin man, cmon
— Mal (@jamalagnew) December 21, 2020
Assistant special teams coach Marquice Williams will run the unit for the Lions' final two games, Saturday against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and next week against the Minnesota Vikings.
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This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Detroit Lions fans defend special teams coordinator Brayden Coombs