Miami should have fired Danny Crossman; special teams' coordinator has got to go

Dolphins were among the worst kickoff and punt return units in the NFL in 2023

Miami Dolphins punter Jake Bailey contributed to the special teams woes with his line drive punts and terrible hang time. He single-handedly lost the division for the Dophins during the Monday night game at home against Buffalo.
Miami Dolphins punter Jake Bailey contributed to the special teams woes with his line drive punts and terrible hang time. He single-handedly lost the division for the Dophins during the Monday night game at home against Buffalo. / Bryan Bennett/GettyImages

Special teams Coordinator Danny Crossman was one of the only coaches to survive the staff purge when Brian Flores exited stage left and Mike McDaniel took over the team. He should have been fired along with Flores, but he was not. He has clearly worn out his welcome in Miami and it is time for him to go.

Special teams assistant Brendan Farrell will not be returning, so why should his immediate superior? They were both awful in 2023 and accomplished nothing. Crossman has nothing on his resume that says he deserves another year and he should be collecting his $275.00 per week unemployment check from the State of Florida for a job poorly done.

Crossman's special teams units were anything but special in 2023. The entire unit can be blamed for the loss at home against Buffalo to conclude the regular season when the punt team gave up a 96-yard punt return to Deonte Harty that ignited the Bills to a come from behind 21-14 victory over Miami.

It all started with a poor line-drive punt from former Pro Bowl punter Jake Bailey. He outkicked his coverage and the special teams unit missed three tackles of Hardy inside his own 30-yard line. I see the play in my sleep, so I am sure that Crossman does too.

That one play swung the momentum Buffalo's way and deflated an ecstatic Dolphins' home crowd. This was Miami's best chance to beat Buffalo for a division title and the special teams blew it.

I don't need to tell you again that had Miami won that game, they would have had a home playoff game and a division title. Instead, they lost, were the sixth seed and were forced to freeze their collective buns off in Kansas City, where they got blown out 26-7.

Crossman is too old to play ball, but just the right age to coach it. The problem is he never taught the unit how to get down the field and tackle. The gunners constantly got hung up at the line and the rest of the unit ran downfield like they were taking a Sunday stroll through Central Park.

The players were clearly not motivated and not taught what to do to make a play. It was not instilled in them. Kerry Glenn needs to be brought back to teach the players how to play the gunner position and fight off the line and get down field to make a tackle. I blame Crossman for that lack of enthusiasm and poor coaching..

In the name of Mike Westhoff, what happened to the days where the Dolphins had a booming punter like Reggie Roby, who could flip the field at will. Bailey is a disgrace to the uniform and since his contract expired, we should say shank you very much, now get out of the building.

Reggie Roby
The days of Reggie Roby and five second hang times for the Miami Dolphins are over. There will never be a better special teams coach than Mike Westhoff and the Dolphins suffered this season because they could not cover a punt or a kick. Westhoff was a genius and Danny Crossman could not hold his briefcase. / George Gojkovich/GettyImages

"“Why didn’t we trigger fast enough? What were we looking at that didn’t put us in position? So, I always look at myself first. Then it’s look at the players. If it’s the same guys making the same mistakes, then we need to do something different with that."

Danny Crossman

The punt return team was the 28th best in the league, out of 32 teams. The unit was among the worst statistically and did not run down the field to make tackles fast enough. They gave up an average of 12.2 yards per return. The kickoff team was even worse, despite having a weapon like Jason Sanders, who routinely kicks the ball out of the back of the endzone. The Dolphins gave up an average of 30.2 yards per return, and there were not that many balls that were returnable, good for last in the National Football League.

"“The guys are doing a good job, and the plays that we haven’t been able to make, there are reasons. There are coaching points. Some of it is individual where we didn’t do something correctly. Some of it was we were late in doing something. But then again, I always look at myself and blame myself first."

Danny Crossman

So Crossman said that there were coaching points that were missed and things that were done incorrectly. One might think that over a span of 18 weeks, he could correct those things and find the right personnel to cover a kick.

The Dolphins also yielded a kickoff return for a touchdown late in the 70-20 butchering of the Denver Broncos. Tt really didn't matter, but it was clearly a sign that the coverage unit was awful early in the season and it was never fixed.

Miami also led the league in kicks blocked and most special teams' points yielded during the 2023 season. Congratulations Crossman, you led the league in something.