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Sam Martin is gone, who will fill his shoes?
It isn’t a flashy position, but it’s an important one nonetheless.
The Detroit Lions previously had some stability at the punter position thanks in part to Sam Martin taking over back in 2013 as a rookie. However, with his departure in free agency to the Denver Broncos , it opens up a battle on special teams, and one with no clear winner. The Lions did not sign a veteran punter this offseason, although it could be a possibility down the road. Instead, Jack Fox and Arryn Siposs will battle for the starting gig in what could be a tumultuous offseason.
Jack Fox is the longest tenured of the two punters, if only by a few months. The Lions signed Fox to the practice squad on December 5, 2019, which coincided with the release of fellow punter Matt Wile from that same practice squad. Fox was previously with the Kansas City Chiefs after being signed as an undrafted free agent in May. Fox did not make their regular season roster, ending up on their practice squad from October to November. Fox finished his collegiate career at Rice with an average of 43.4 yards per attempt.
Arryn Siposs is officially a rookie, but at age 27, he already has experience at the professional level—Australian football, that is. Siposs was an Aussie rules footballer from 2011 to 2015 before switching to American football at Auburn. He only played for two seasons at Auburn, recording an average of 44.0 yards per attempt on 117 kicks.
Neither punter has a strong leg. For comparison, Martin had an average 45.3 yards per punt in 2019, while the league leader Tress Way had an average of 49.6. Precision punting could be on the docket for things to observe this preseason. Additionally, a kickoff specialist will be needed to replace Martin.
Today’s Question of the Day is:
Who will be the Lions’ starting punter?
My answer: I think Jack Fox will win the starting role, but it will be close.
Neither player has attempted a punt in the NFL thus far in their careers, which gives some uncertainty regarding which player has the leg up, no pun intended. It is still hard to forecast how the NFL training camps will be affected by the pandemic, but Fox’s familiarity with the team, however brief, could give him an edge.