Injury, elements ‘absolutely no factor’ in Lions K Austin Seibert’s rough game

Detroit Free Press

Dave Fipp does not like excuses, and the Detroit Lions special teams coordinator was not embracing any of the ones offered up Thursday to explain Austin Seibert’s recent kicking struggles.

“We obviously expect to make those — I expect to make those,” Fipp said. “We had a 48-yarder and a 54-yarder. Those are clearly makeable kicks. They’re indoors, in good situations, so I would say, yeah, no question.”

Seibert missed a 48-yard field goal off the right upright in the first half of the Lions’ 28-24 loss to the Minnesota Vikings and pushed a 54-yard attempt wide right with 1:14 to play, setting set up the Vikings’ game-winning touchdown.

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The Vikings play in a domed stadium, but had the large pivoting doors at the west entrance of the stadium open during last week’s game, causing some to wonder if a cross breeze impacted the kicking. Vikings kicker Greg Joseph also missed two kicks of 56 yards.

Fipp said the elements were “absolutely no factor, in my opinion.”

“I always tell these guys and I tell myself, you’re not getting paid in this league as a coach or a player to do the easy things. You’re getting paid to do the hard things,” Fipp said. “If everything’s perfect and you can make the kick, that’s great, but so can everybody else out there doing it. You got to be able to make it when everything’s not perfect, everything doesn’t go your way. That’s how I feel as a player, coach, person in life.”

Seibert also has been managing a groin injury since the end of training camp, but Fipp said Seibert’s health was not an issue last week.

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“He felt great,” Fipp said. “I mean, I don’t know that he’s felt perfect, but I would say he’s felt fine. His leg strength’s not a problem, you can see it on his kickoffs. He’s hitting the ball well, so I would definitely not say that there was anything to that, for sure.”

Seibert, who missed the second half of last season after undergoing surgery to repair torn adductors, is 3-for-5 on field goal attempts this season but has struggled with accuracy from distance throughout his career.

He is 2-for-6 on 50-plus-yard attempts since debuting in 2019 and 4-for-8 on kicks of more than 45 yards in nine games with the Lions.

Lions coach Dan Campbell offered a show of support for Seibert this week, saying he’d be “willing to give him another go” in a similar situation. Fipp said Seibert’s accuracy from distance is “very comparable to most guys in the National Football League,” though he declined to share practice statistics to back up his claim.

Seibert missed his second straight practice Thursday because of his groin injury, and while Fipp insisted “I feel good about where he’s at and what’ll happen with him,” the Lions could have practice squad kicker Dominik Eberle handle field goals and kickoffs Sunday against the Seattle Seahawks.

Eberle made 2 of 3 field goals with a long of 51 yards and all five of his extra points in his only NFL regular season game last fall with the Houston Texans.

“If it comes to Eberle, maybe this is his shot and he turns into being a great player,” Fipp said. “I believe that could happen for him and I hope it does if he gets that opportunity.”

DJ Chark misses practice

Along with Seibert, the Lions held six other players out of practice Thursday. Leading rusher D’Andre Swift missed his second straight practice with ankle and shoulder injuries, top receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown sat for a second straight day with a sprained ankle, and deep threat DJ Chark joined them on the sidelines with an ankle injury.

Guard Jonah Jackson (finger) and defensive lineman John Cominsky (thumb) also did not practice and are not expected to play Sunday.

Receiver Josh Reynolds (ankle), tight end T.J. Hockenson (foot), center Frank Ragnow (toe), cornerback Bobby Price (shin) and linebacker Chris Board (knee) returned to practice Thursday after sitting out Wednesday.

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

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