Coming off of a game where the Detroit Lions successfully execute three (!) special teams fakes, coordinator Dave Fipp has tested positive for COVID-19, he told the media via Zoom on Thursday.
Per Fipp, he tested positive on Tuesday and is currently symptom-free, saying, “I feel terrible because I feel great.”
Because Fipp is fully vaccinated and symptom-free, if he returns two negative test results ahead of Sunday, he will be eligible to coach against the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 8—the team he spent the previous eight seasons with before joining the Lions this past offseason.
“I think Fipp is a superstar,” coach Dan Campbell said on Wednesday. “I just remember I was like, ‘This guy is going to be an outstanding coach’. He gets his shot in Philly and I think he’s – just from afar, he was always one of the best special teams coaches.”
Unfortunately for Fipp, he did not just test positive on Tuesday. The special teams coordinator told the media that he tested positive again on Wednesday, and his Thursday morning rapid test also returned a positive result.
Fipp has been able to work virtually all week, sitting in on meetings and game-planning for Sunday. But if Fipp can’t go on Sunday, the Lions will have to rely on assistant special teams coordinator Jett Modkins (son of former Lions RB coach Curtis Modkins) and newly-appointed special assistant Don Muhlbach.
“Jett Modkins, my assistant, and Don Muhlbach have been handling all the meetings in person,” Fipp said. “Obviously, Dan Campbell is a huge part of all this stuff. Hopefully, I’ll be able to test negative twice before Sunday afternoon. Obviously, that’s the goal, but if that doesn’t happen then Coach Campbell and Jett will end up taking care of it.”
The Lions have had one of the best special team units in the league thus far in 2021. They currently rank third in Football Outsiders’ efficiency metric (DVOA) and they’re coming off a game in which they successfully pulled off three trick plays.
“I think it’s probably been our most consistent unit out of the three phases,” Campbell said. “We’ve got a pretty good core group of guys, but he’s been great. I just think he’s an outstanding teacher and he’s high energy and I think you have to be both to be a good special teams coach.”