Lions’ Caldwell keeps faith in Dwayne Washington

Justin Rogers
The Detroit News

Allen Park — Dwayne Washington had a rough day on special teams in the Detroit Lions’ season-opening win over Arizona, but coach Jim Caldwell isn’t giving up on the young running back.

First, Washington was flagged for unnecessary roughness on a punt return. Then, there was the mental lapse on a bouncing kickoff, which he took out of the end zone and was promptly dropped at the seven-yard line.

Washington wasn’t benched for the blunders — he continued to have a significant role in the offense during the second half — but his day returning kickoffs was over after the mistake. Rookie Jamal Agnew took over the rest of the way.

On Monday, Caldwell said he didn’t anticipate the switch being permanent.

“Didn’t make the best decision in that regard; I mean, there’s no way of getting around that one,” Caldwell said. “But don’t expect not to see him back there again, OK? That’s what I would like to say to you. He’s a young guy. He’ll learn and he’ll adjust and sometimes experience can be a little painful at times but it does teach great lessons.”

Caldwell said why Washington made the mistake of bringing the kickoff out of the end zone wasn’t as important as making sure he doesn’t repeat it.

“What goes through a guy’s mind at that particular point in time, I don’t try to analyze it much,” Caldwell said. “I told him what’s right and how they should respond and he looks at it and takes it the right way.”