Firing Brayden Coombs may not sit well with Detroit Lions. But there's a bigger problem

Free Press sports journalist Carlos Monarrez answers three questions after the Detroit Lions fired Special Teams Coordinator Brayden Coombs on Monday:
Why now?
I'll give interim coach Darrell Bevell the benefit of the doubt. I don't think he would have made such a drastic decision with two games left if he hadn't had one very compelling reason - or several reasons over the past few weeks - to get rid of the team's best coach this season. Bevell didn't go into great detail about why Coombs was fired other than making the fake punt call himself. But he gave a pretty good answer as to why he had to fire Coombs. Bevell said he has a philosophy and “when things happen that are outside of it, something has to happen. If something doesn't happen, you really lose credibility. "Bevell was asked twice if this wasn't an isolated incident with Coombs and if there were other issues behind the shot. He declined to answer those questions, but my gut tells me that for an incident with two games left, you are not a good coach It sounded as if Coombs' action - and perhaps other past actions - forced Bevell's hand.
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Would that have happened if Matt Patricia was still there?
I doubt it. When a coach and general manager are laid off during the season, a power vacuum is created within the organization. Because of this, I'm rarely in favor of firing coaches and GMs during the season. Sometimes it does more harm than good. Some people get promoted and some don't. Feelings are hurt when duties and power are redistributed. Then you have different motives for the people coming to power. Say what you want about Patricia, but he was the coach and no one would usurp his title or question his authority. The firing of Patricia may have appeased the masses, but so far the net result has been a win, two losses, an act of turmoil, a front office hire, another firing and a series of questions.
[Lions players defend Brayden Coombs as "one hell of a coach" after being fired]
Will there be any impact on the move?
It could be and it won't be good. Coombs' unit had some success this season and was popular with its players. During his conference calls with reporters, he was engaging and spoke well. Several Lions Special Team players used social media to support Coombs on Monday. Returnees Jamal Agnew openly questioned the fire when he tweeted, "What we're doing, man, come on." I don't think a player revolt is brewing, but Bevell has to make a compelling statement throughout Tuesday's team meeting. Whether there are differences of opinion or factions among the players in the locker room is controversial as the Lions are excluded from the playoff hunt. But one thing Coombs' Fire surely does is that it gives a black eye to the entire organization. It raises dysfunctional questions, and that's the last thing you want when you're a franchisee struggling to hire the GM and coach that will change decades of failure.
Contact Carlos Monarrez at and follow him on Twitter @cmonarrez.
This article originally appeared in the Detroit Free Press: Detroit Lions Firing Brayden Coombs: The Real Problem for the Organization
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Brayden Coombs
Darrell Bevell
Detroit Lions

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