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Notes: Lions’ Jack Fox on pace for historic punting average

Even he is a little surprised at how well the punting unit is doing.

NFL: Detroit Lions at Arizona Cardinals Billy Hardiman-USA TODAY Sports

Thursday night, the always-excellent Dan Miller with Fox 2 Sports had a video chat with the top punter in the league on the 6 o’clock news. The full video is posted on the Fox 2 site linked below in this tweet from the station:

One tidbit pointed out during the interview by Miller is that the current NFL single-season record for average yards per punt since 1939 is held by Sammy Baugh for a 51.4 yard average in 1940. Both Miller and Fox are careful to note there is still a lot of games to play this year, but Fox’s current average per punt is 53.4 yards.

Pride of Detroit readers are no doubt familiar with the hardcore kicking game mania that runs rampant among our staff, but the shocking awesomeness with which Fox burst onto the scene as the Lions’ new punter in 2020 took even us by surprise. While it was great to see the league officially acknowledge the dominance last month, the general football world has not yet realized what is going on in the Lions special teams unit.

In the Madden 21 player ratings update for Week 7, the Fantastic Mr. Fox rose four points in awareness to make his overall rating bump up to 77 from 75. This makes the September Special Teams Player of the Month tied for 11th among all punters in the game. He is just behind Minnesota’s Britton Colquitt and Cleveland’s Jamie Gillian, who are tied at 78 overall. Colquitt sports a 44.2 yards per punt average (26th, and 9.2 yards per punt lower than Fox) while Gillian is a bit lower at 43.9 yards per punt (28th in the league) on roughly the same number of punts as Fox.

As pointed out by MLive’s Kyle Meinke, we regret to inform our readers that the streak of recognition from the league has been broken:

Travesty. In any case, here’s a great shot taken in Atlanta from the team’s official account.

Whether or not the rest of the football world “gets it,” the fans of this team know what we’re seeing each week from Fox really is special. And now, on to the rest of today’s Notes:

  • The Athletic’s Chris Burke offers some insight (subscription required) into how the Lions set their sights on acquiring John Penisini.

  • Not Lions-related, but of general football interest: