Something is brewing among the Detroit Lions specialists in San Diego, and signs point to the Lions turning one of the league’s best punters into an even more dangerous weapon.
All three Lions specialists have spent the week in San Diego training with longtime Chargers kicker Nick Novak, founder of Novak Kicking & Consulting. In the two offseasons since Novak entered the coaching business, his enterprise has turned into a hub of the NFL’s best specialist talents and a source of truth for NFL, CFL, XFL, and USFL teams looking for specialists.
Enter Jack Fox: master specialist, at least when it comes to punting, holding, and fakes. When the Lions were faced with kicker woes in the fall of 2021, they made the bold move to cut *both* rostered kickers ahead of 53-man roster cut downs. With more questions than answers at the position, Lions fans were quick to pose another question: could Jack Fox kick? At the time, it seemed like there was nothing Fox couldn’t do.
Fox was quick to quell those rumors by tweeting a highlight clip of his numerous misses from a high school kicking camp.
To everyone asking if I can kick fg’s... pic.twitter.com/ltX7rJv8Ae— Jack Fox (@MrJackFox) September 1, 2021
That was that, and the Lions stumbled into a kicker carousel that would see ten kickers come through the doors of Allen Park until Michael Badgley brought some stability to the position in 2022.
The end of the 2022 brought a question of Badgley’s future with the team. He had delivered down the stretch, putting to bed questions about his ability to perform under pressure. However, there are still questions with Badgley’s range beyond about 50 yards it seems like a matter of when, not if, that will come back to bite the Lions in a crucial situation if he were to stick around.
The Lions specialists may be preparing for that situation this week in San Diego. Novak shared an Instagram Reel of Fox making a field goal from 60 yards, with the snap from Scott Daly and the hold from former Michigan State punter Bryce Baringer:
It’s just one post, so take things with a grain of salt. This is entirely me reading the tea leaves, and not confirmation of any kind for the reasoning behind Fox practicing field goals. However, if he were preparing for long distance field goal situations, that has to bode well for Badgley’s odds of returning to the Lions in 2023.
At best, Fox’s new endeavor gives the Lions an answer for Badgley’s biggest question mark and allows them continuity in the special teams unit heading into next season. At worst, one of the best punters in the world is somehow getting better, and should the Lions ever need him in an emergency field goal situation, it seems Fox is pretty well prepared. And as Scott Daly so eloquently reminded us in the comments, “AND HE CAN PASS.”