Detroit Lions’ Dan Campbell willing to give Austin Seibert ‘another go’ after missed FG

Detroit Free Press

Dan Campbell hated his decision to try a long field goal late in Sunday’s loss to the Minnesota Vikings, but the Detroit Lions coach insisted Monday he has not lost any faith in kicker Austin Seibert.

“Well, yeah, listen, I’d be willing to give him another go,” Campbell said at his weekly news conference. “I mean, if I didn’t feel that way I wouldn’t have let him kick there at the end of the game.”

Seibert, who won a training camp battle with Riley Patterson for the Lions’ kicking job this summer, missed two of three field goal tries Sunday, including a 54-yarder with 1:10 to play that set up the Vikings’ game-winning touchdown.

Campbell opted to try the long field goal rather than try and convert a fourth-and-4 from the Minnesota 36-yard line, a decision he said after the game he regretted. When Seibert’s kick sailed wide right, the Vikings started their next possession at the 44-yard line. Kirk Cousins hit K.J. Osborn with a 28-yard touchdown pass three plays later.

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Seibert also missed a 48-yard kick off the right upright in the first quarter, and made a 40-yard attempt in the second half.

He is 3 of 5 on field goals this season and has a career-long of 53 yards.

“I know he missed the first one, but he came back and made the second one and so I felt like he would make this,” Campbell said. “And it didn’t work out.”

Seibert missed half of last season with torn adductor muscles, and he dealt with a groin injury that limited his participation in practice earlier this month.

Campbell said Seibert was “a little bit sore” Monday, which could have the Lions consider other options for this week’s game against the Seattle Seahawks.

“We’ll see what happens with him,” Campbell said.

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Kicker Dominik Eberle, who made 2 of 3 field goals in his lone NFL game last season for the Houston Texans, is on the Lions’ practice squad.

Defense mechanisms

While Campbell’s fourth-down call drew the most scrutiny in Sunday’s loss, he spent Monday explaining several other coaching decisions.

Of a long third-and-1 pass to Josh Reynolds that fell incomplete with just under 11 minutes to play in the fourth quarter, Campbell said he has no regrets about the play call.

“It was one of those plays we felt like we were going to get the look we wanted,” he said. “We get good protection, we knew they would be playing the run, so you’re able to latch up on those guys. (Lions quarterback Jared) Goff would have time to see it, and we felt like Reynolds could win on the perimeter, and it ended up being tight coverage and didn’t work out for us. But I don’t — I’m good with the decision.”

Campbell also defended the Lions’ approach to not run down the play clock on their second possession of the fourth quarter, when they led, 24-21, and gained three first downs on a drive that began at their own 22-yard line. The possession ultimately petered out on a failed fourth-and-1 run.

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“Some if it becomes just rhythm of play,” Campbell said. “Even though you’re running it, you’re on the road. It’s loud. You hate to have your offensive linemen up there (on the line of scrimmage) too long. Now, you could always break, get to the huddle and go, but I think that you’ve got to be careful. You’ve got to be careful as to when you start going into four-minute mode, I think, in this league.

“Everything has shifted so much offensively, and especially when they had three timeouts, you’ve got to be careful, not at the expense of getting out of rhythm. And sometimes when you sit and milk and then, ‘All right, now here we go,’ it can mess with your rhythm a little bit. So certainly there was a time and place, I’m not saying that, but I didn’t feel like we were quite in that mode yet.”

Contact Dave Birkett at dbirkett@freepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @davebirkett.

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