Explaining Detroit Lions’ fake punt success; Josh Reynolds sits with back injury

Detroit Free Press

The Detroit Lions have run a fake punt in more than 20% of their games under head coach Dan Campbell, converting five of six attempts.

But Lions special teams coordinator Dave Fipp said Thursday he has called “plenty more” fakes that “just haven’t gotten off the ground because we haven’t gotten” the right look.

“I was thinking about that in my office,” Fipp said. “It’s like, whatever the numbers are, (we are) five of six, six of seven, whatever that is. But I was like, ‘Yeah, well, if they only really knew how many we actually had.’”

C.J. Moore converted the Lions’ second fake punt of this season in last week’s 31-27 loss to the Miami Dolphins, when he ran for 13 yards on fourth-and-2 from his spot as Jack Fox’s personal protector.

Moore also converted a fake punt with a 28-yard run last fall against the Los Angeles Rams, and Fox is 3-for-4 passing from the punt formation in his career. In Week 4, Fox completed a 6-yard pass to Quintez Cephus on fourth-and-3 to keep alive a drive that ended with a Lions field goal.

Fox’s lone incompletion came late last season on a drop by Godwin Igwebuike.

Moore said he nearly called off last week’s fake because of the Dolphins’ return formation — they started with two jammers on both Lions gunners, but walked one of those jammers back to the line — but decided to keep it on when he “felt like I could get the edge.”

Birkett:Detroit Lions get meager return for T.J. Hockenson, set up for big future payoff

More Birkett:Big changes hit close to home for Lions coordinators: ‘Hurts a little bit more than most’

“It’s a great welcome-back situation,” said Moore, who was waived-injured by the Lions at the end of training camp and re-signed with the team last week. “I’m just really glad coach trusted me to call it even though I just got back. But yeah, coach gave me the call and the look was kind of cloudy at first and then we were just like, ‘Nah, let’s stick with it,’ and we went with it and it worked out.”

Fipp said opponents have done a good job guarding against Lions’ fakes, and he credited his players and Campbell’s willingness to gamble for the team’s success on fake punts.

“I always would look at it like if I were playing us, what would I be thinking?” Fipp said. “I think that’s kind of how you look at yourself all the time. And I know if I were playing us, I would make sure that we were making good choices and putting our guys into good positions and trying to take as much of it away from them as possible but also still trying to create some opportunity for yourself, too.”

D’Andre Swift returns, Josh Reynolds out

The Lions’ injury problems are mounting at receiver again. Josh Reynolds missed practice Thursday because of a back injury he suffered Wednesday, and practice squad receiver Maurice Alexander is dealing with a sprained ankle that likely will keep him out of Sunday’s game against the Green Bay Packers.

The Lions have two receivers on injured reserve, DJ Chark and Quintez Cephus, just traded top tight end T.J. Hockenson to the Minnesota Vikings and have played without Amon-Ra St. Brown for parts of the last month.

If Reynolds can’t play Sunday, Tom Kennedy could serve as the Lions’ No. 3 receiver and the Lions likely will have to promote two pass catchers from the practice squad.

Right tackle Penei Sewell remained out practice Thursday for personal reasons, and the Lions were without offensive lineman Matt Nelson (calf) and defensive backs Chase Lucas (ankle), Ifeatu Melifonwu (ankle) and AJ Parker (hip).

D’Andre Swift practiced on a limited basis Thursday after sitting out Wednesday to rest ankle and shoulder injuries, and tight end Brock Wright (concussion protocol) practiced on a limited basis in a red jersey.

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

Articles You May Like

Detroit Lions Should TRY To Bring Back Wide Receiver DJ Chark In Free Agency
Detroit Lions go totally toward defense in Mel Kiper’s first 2023 mock
Patriots may have only wanted Matt Patricia because Lions were paying his salary
Latest mock drafts from Kiper, Jeremiah have Lions double-dipping defense in first round
Ford Field will play host to Michigan Panthers, Philadelphia Stars during 2023 USFL season

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *