By Tim Graham
The Buffalo Bills have announced the hiring of Danny Crossman as special-teams coordinator.
Crossman spent the past three seasons with the Detroit Lions and was the Carolina Panthers' coordinator from 2005 to 2009.
He and Bills head coach Doug Marrone played together in the World League with the London Monarchs and were on the U.S. Coast Guard Academy coaching staff in 1993.
"The relationships that you build as players are obviously very important and special," Marrone said in comments released by the Bills' media relations department. "You go through a lot of adversity in this game, so we remained close.
"My second job was at the Coast Guard Academy, which was Danny’s first. Really, we have come from the bottom up through this industry. We have stayed close, and we have come to this point where we can work together again.
"He brings great enthusiasm to the room, and he brings experience. He has been to playoff games. He has been to championship games, and he has competed at the highest level, which is the Super Bowl."
Detroit this season averaged 31st on kickoff returns, 22nd on punt returns, 19th on opponent's average drive start after a kickoff, 14th in kickoff coverage, 31st in net punting and 18th in punt coverage.
Dallas Morning News reporter Rick Gosselin's annual special-teams rankings are considered the standard. He compiles the rankings with 22 kicking-game categories.
Gosselin's rankings for this season haven't been released yet, but Detroit ranked second-to-last in 2011 and 15th in 2010.
Carolina's average ranking was 15.5 while Crossman oversaw its kicking units.
"Many games are won and lost with special teams," Marrone said. "It was important to our players and the organization to hire someone with experience. You want to make sure that you have someone that has experience and that can evaluate the full roster so that we know that we are getting the most out of our special teams units.
"It is obviously one-third of the game, and it is a very important part of it. That person has to deal with everyone on the team. It is different than your unit groups as far as offensive line, defensive backs or any other position. He is truly dealing with everyone."