Detroit Lions coach Dan Campbell said he blundered by sending Austin Seibert out for a late field goal attempt in last week’s loss to the Minnesota Vikings, an admission Seibert said Thursday he did not take personal.
“You can’t,” Seibert told the Free Press. “You can take anything personally. In my opinion, you’ve just got to just roll with it. He’s not trying to offend me, upset me, or say he’s lacking confidence in me. It’s just offense was rolling and played well that game and I understand it either way, but at the end of the day he decided he wanted me to kick it and I missed it.”
Seibert missed kicks of 48 and 54 yards in the Lions’ 28-24 loss to the Vikings. His second miss with 1:14 to play gave the Vikings the ball at their own 46-yard line and set up Kirk Cousins’ game-winning touchdown pass to K.J. Osborn three plays later.
Campbell said after the game he regretted not keeping his offense on the field to try and convert on fourth-and-4. The Lions had converted 4 of 6 fourth-down attempts to that point in the game.
“Obviously have to make the kicks and I felt like throughout the game I hit the ball decent,” Seibert said. “I had a couple where I wasn’t very happy with it, but at the end of the day it just comes down to I have to do my job and I didn’t do it and it cost us the game in my opinion. So yeah, just roll forward with it and you can learn from it and just move onto the next one. If you start dwelling on stuff like that it’s only going to weigh you down so I have to stay positive.”
Seibert has been dealing with a lingering groin injury this season, one that will keep him out of Sunday’s game against the Seahawks. But he told coaches he could kick through the issue and thus declined to use that as an excuse when asked about his miss Thursday.
He said the pain is from scar tissue from surgery he underwent last fall to repair torn adductor muscles.
“I think in this game, if you’re looking for excuses, honestly, as a coach, a player, anybody, if you’re looking for them, you can find a million of them and I think really that’s true with life,” Lions special teams coordinator Dave Fipp said. “If you’re a person looking for reasons why you are where you are, things aren’t going your way, you’re going to find them a million different ways. And there’s no better way to do that than in this game. But I would say he felt great. 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.”
Fipp also downplayed any impact the elements had on Seibert’s struggles. The Vikings play in a domed stadium, but had the large pivoting doors at the west entrance of their stadium open last week, causing some to wonder if a cross breeze impacted the kicking.
Vikings kicker Greg Joseph also missed two kicks of 56 yards in the game.
“I would say in that stadium on that day, that was absolutely no factor, in my opinion,” Fipp said.
Seibert, who won a training camp competition with Riley Patterson for the kicking job, has made all 12 of his extra points this season and has excelled on kickoffs, but has missed 2 of 3 attempts of 48-plus yards.
In nine games with the Lions dating back to last season, he is 4-for-8 on kicks of more than 45 yards.
Campbell said Monday he has not lost any faith in Seibert as a kicker, though Seibert will not play Sunday against the Seattle Seahawks.
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Practice squad kicker Dominik Eberle, who made 2 of 3 field goals and all five of his extra points in his only NFL regular season game with the Houston Texans last fall, will handle kicking duties this week.
“I think you just got to take it more so day by day and see how everything’s feeling because you definitely don’t, like from my knowledge is you don’t want to keep it inflamed, you want to make sure everything’s calmed down before you get back to doing something,” Seibert said. “But that’s what seeing the doctor every day is for, so keep rolling with that.”