Miami Dolphins’ Special Teams Coordinator Danny Crossman Has a Once-in-a-Lifetime Chance at a Reputational Reset

Danny Crossman probably has one last shot to get it right as the Miami Dolphins' special teams coordinator in a year like no other.

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — Danny Crossman has one last chance to get it right with the Miami Dolphins.

Crossman survived the Dolphins’ 2024 coaching staff purge despite leading a special teams unit that finished second to last in Rick Gosselin’s gold standard special teams rankings.

But to steal a term from a beloved game show, the NFL has granted Crossman a lifeline: The modified kickoff format that will make its NFL debut this preseason.

Miami Dolphins’ Danny Crossman Talks Kickoff Overhaul

Crossman had input on the XFL-inspired configuration, which will definitely look strange at first but should make the kicking game far more compelling.

The overhaul provides Crossman an unprecedented opportunity to prove that Mike McDaniel was wise to keep him in Miami for a sixth season.

McDaniel told reporters in February that he “determined that [Crossman] was the appropriate guy to lead us to fix the things that haven’t been up to the standard.”

Crossman will now try to prove his boss right by scheming and coaching up ways to generate big plays for the Dolphins — and prevent big plays by the opposition.

“Honestly, right now, we are looking at everything and anybody,” Crossman told reporters at the Dolphins’ minicamp this week. “We are not eliminating anyone when it comes to position groups that maybe weren’t part of that aspect over the last couple years. We’re back to looking at some of those people.”

So, yes, everything and anybody includes Tyreek Hill, Jaylen Waddle, Raheem Mostert, De’Von Achane, and Jaylen Wright — the five track stars expected to play significant offensive roles on offense in 2024.

“It wouldn’t shock me if, shoot, every No. 1 receiver and every No. 1 running back in the league is raising their hands to return kicks Week 4,” McDaniel said Thursday.

About the only thing Crossman will rule out? Using a position player as the Dolphins’ kickoff specialist. Dave Toub, Crossman’s counterpart in Kansas City, has floated the idea of having safety Justin Reid do kickoffs.

MORE: Everything You Need to Know About the NFL’s New Kickoff Rule

The rationale is doing so will give the Chiefs an extra willing-and-able tackler to be accounted for in opposing teams’ blocking schemes.

“I still think that the advantage for the kickoff team, where you can gain an advantage, is to have a kicker,” Crossman countered. “Because the advantage is the ball on the ground before it’s touched by the returner which enables the cover team to go, and non-kickers are going to have a little bit more difficulty trying to hit that ball consistently.”

Beyond that, Crossman is open to ideas. The Dolphins could use offensive linemen in the return game. They could use tight ends and linebackers.

Crafting the right strategy becomes doubly important given that teams are allowed a maximum of 48 active players on game days. These are high-stakes decisions that could hurt the Dolphins in all three phases of the game if Crossman gets them wrong.

“We’re still weeding out what we like, what we don’t like, what we think can gain us an advantage, what are we going to prepare for that we think other teams may try,” Crossman said. “So, right now, this whole spring has been a great experience because we’re looking at things and doing things that I never thought I’d be doing.”

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