A week later, Lions get the punter they wanted

One week and one Devin Hester touchdown return later, the Detroit Lions have their man.

The Lions placed punter Ryan Malone on waivers Tuesday and signed veteran Ben Graham, a move first reported by Sirius/XM NFL Radio host Adam Caplan. Malone filled in for the injured Ryan Donahue in Sunday’s loss to the Chicago Bears and punted five times, consistently outkicking his coverage as Hester had an 82-yard punt return and also had returns of 29 and 35 yards. The 35-yarder was nullified by a penalty.

A source tells the National Football Post that the Lions wanted to sign Graham all along but that personal reasons kept the veteran in Australia through the weekend and he was unable to report to the Lions on time. So, Malone was the man for a weekend and he ended up struggling.

The plan, of course, was for Malone to punt the ball out of bounds. It didn’t exactly work that way.

"We tried to sideline that ball, but you ever play golf?" Lions coach Jim Schwartz said after the 37-13 loss at Soldier Field. "You try to hit it in the fairway, don’t you? It goes in the woods. You’re going to make par on the 18th hole to win a major championship and, 'How does he put it in the woods?' It’s because it doesn’t always go where you want. We wanted to sideline it, but that being said our coverage wasn’t very good. We got stacked up, particuarly on the long one."

Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press reports Donahue is “optimistic” he will be able to return this week. He was injured filling in for injured kicker Jason Hanson in practice.

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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune

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