Alan Park – Austin Seibert leads the Detroit Lions’ fight for the next kicker.
That’s not my assessment, it’s Dan Campbell’s assessment, one of the most obvious reactions you’ll hear from a coach to an ongoing situational fight.
“I thought they both did a good job, but I really liked Seibert,” Campbell said ahead of Monday’s practice session. “If you ask me today, he’s a better tick. I thought he worked a lot there.”
The only surprise is the naked honesty. Seibert was outstanding throughout camp, including banking 63 yards off the bar in Saturday’s intrasquad scrimmage at Ford Field. For context, the longest field goal in Lions history is 59 yards, which Matt Prater bet on the 2020 game winner against Washington.
“It’s definitely a great feeling to kick the ball like that,” said Seibert. “But at the end of the day, it’s my job to go out there and do things like that. So just coming to that moment and just understanding and executing it is what we’re looking for. It happened.”
Seibert was certainly the team’s favorite last year. He was required by decree to transfer from Cleveland to the opener and then made 10 of his 12 tries over the next eight weeks. His only misfire was 51 yards in his first game in Detroit, then 47 yards when he felt down for a game against Philadelphia in Week 8.
He had an MRI next week. It turned out he was playing through torn adductors on both sides of his body and required surgery at the end of the season.
“It’s right between the groin and the hamstrings,” Seibert said. “It wasn’t fun.”
Riley Patterson was signed to replace Seibert and played well, all but 14 of 16 point-after tries and 13 field goal attempts. That’s a good thing from Backup Kicker. But all of those marks also came from within 50 yards, and his only attempt at 55 yards beyond that limit was unsuccessful.
For the two kickers, who showed a lot of consistency, that – the distance – was the divisor. This was demonstrated again at Saturday’s scrimmage, where Seibert made all four attempts, including one for 63. Patterson’s 63-yard attempt failed and he also made a 54-yard wide right jab.
When asked if Campbell is falling behind in the competition, Patterson expressed confidence.
“I can’t control what Austin does,” Patterson said. “Austin is great, I have no problem with him. We are friends. But I’ll do what I can, the best I can. I have full confidence in myself. I think I’m an NFL kicker and I wanted to be here. I want to play for Detroit. But it’s not up to me. It’s up to you. I’ll try my best, I’ll try to do all my kicks and I’ll try to improve my kickoff. I feel great but ultimately it’s up to him.”
A few more observations from the Padless exercise on Monday afternoon:
The Lions closed practice due to the threat of inclement weather to the public, but stayed outside. Apart from the heavy rain, the weather also took a hit, which ended after a few minutes. Detroit, however, have made it easier to take off the pads and work your way through a number of special teams during the short practice session.
mailbag: The Pros, Cons and Surprises of Lions Training Camp
– Left tackle Taylor Decker and running back D’Andre Swift got another day off. Dan Campbell has made it a habit to relieve these with light exercises. It’s just a maintenance thing for both players as Decker is coming back from a leg injury that cost him much of his offseason schedule and the Swifts after missing most of their first two training camps in Detroit. tries to stay healthy.
Edge rusher Julian Okwara, receiver Quintez Cephus, safety Ifetu Melifonwu, defensive tackle Levi Onwuzurike and receiver Josh Johnson also didn’t practice.
– If Amani Oruvariye had won a single replay today during the head-to-head duel with the receivers, I wouldn’t have seen it. The veteran cornerback has been struggling for the past few days, adding to Detroit’s troubles at the cornerback. The club are still hoping Jeff Okudah will be what everyone expected of him when he was picked third overall a few years ago but Okuda hasn’t done much in the last two days of training then it will. Harris continued to lag on his return to the field on Monday. Yes, Will Harris, the guy who learned to play cornerback because he had one of the worst safaris in the league.
To be fair, Harris’ cornerback has had some good days, too. But when Okuda is involved in a job fight with the man — and coming off the bench behind him today — that says a lot about how far Okuda is from living up to the hype. Now throw in Oruvariye’s struggles from across the field, and you can begin to understand why DJ Chark, Amon-Ra St. Brown and Josh Reynolds are all flying to training camp.
Chark has been almost unprotected for the past week or so, including catching a team-high with two touchdowns at scrimmage on Saturday. St. Brown is even better than the man who caught at least eight passes in his last six games last year, an NFL rookie record. On Monday Reynolds really stole the show face to face, out of the three reruns I saw two went up against Oruvarie.
– Oruvarie didn’t do much better after Detroit started team practice after being burned down the left by St. Brown’s first pass. On the next pass he was burned on the right flank by the Chark.