Detroit Lions: The one constant bright spot in a season of darkness

Detroit Lions (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)
Detroit Lions (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images) /

The Detroit Lions are 1-3 at the bye and questions surround the team. But with all the dark moments this season, there’s been one constantly shining light.

With the Detroit Lions falling at home to the New Orleans Saints, 35-29, the team enters their week five bye with questions surrounding both the team and coaching staff. Will head coach Matt Patricia be fired? Will the team continue the downward trend or get right over the off-week?

Most likely, the answers to those questions are, eventually, and probably continue losing games. But despite all of the dark moments throughout the four games this year and all of the shadows and uncertainty surrounding the coaching staff, there has been one aspect of the team and one player, in particular, that has been a shining light through the first four weeks.

Even though he was fervently fighting for his job during training camp, punter Jack Fox has been a truly elite punter through the first quarter of the season. Fox had to battle hard to earn his spot on this team this year but has shown why the coaches made the right decision in picking him over rookie Arryn Siposs.

Against the Saints, Fox was tasked with punting the ball away four times. He punted the ball a total of 218 yards (more yards than quarterback Matthew Stafford threw for) for an average of 54.5 yards and had zero touchbacks.

That was just par for the course for Fox, who had punted the ball 13 times the previous three games for 690 yards with an average of 53.1 yards per punt which is good for first in the league. His net yards per punt is 51.1 yards which is five yards better than the next highest net yards per punt figure.

Fox has had just one touchback all year, which was probably more so on his coverage team than his fault, and has landed eight of his 17 punts inside the 20-yard line. He doesn’t allow many return opportunities, having given up a total of just six return yards before the Saints game.

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While Saints’ elite return man Deonte Harris was able to return a couple of punts, it was the first time all year any opponent found even a sliver of success against the Lions’ punt unit. Fox has far and away been the league’s best punter this year and we can only hope he can keep it up through week 17. If he continues to punt at this elite pace, he will undoubtedly deserve to find himself on multiple post-season awards list.