Along with being one of the best punters (and highest-paid) punters in the NFL, Jack Fox has been very good handling kickoffs for the Detroit Lions. So it was interesting when placekicker Riley Patterson handled kickoffs last Sunday against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
And it's not that Patterson was bad taking over the duties. He had two touchbacks on five kickoffs, and Tampa Bay averaged just18.3 yards per on their returns as they failed to get beyond the 25-yard line each time.
But could the switch become permanent? If only as a way to reduce Fox's workload a bit? The questions about the switch are easy.
On Thursday the man with the answers, special teams coach Dave Fipp, addressed why Patterson handled kickoffs against Tampa Bay.
Dave Fipp offers reasonable explanation for switch to Riley Patterson on kickoffs in Week 6
Via SI.com, Fipp totally anticipated the question about kickoffs last week and he was ready with the reasoning behind the switch.
"I thought that would come up there. I thought it would catch you off guard, too. For us, it's a thing that he's been working hard on," Fipp said. "I think a while back I had said that part of the reason why he (Riley Patterson) was here is because he had the ability to both kickoff and kick field goals, and that really is true. And then for him, as somebody who's worked hard at something, we know that at some point there may be a time where he has to do that for us."
Fipp also noted it being an outdoor game, bolstering the idea it was a good spot to get Patterson some kickoffs in case Fox can't do it at some point.
"For us, also, it's kind of like we talked about earlier in the year learning how to cover kicks. Well, what happens if there's a necessity at some point and Fox is not able to do that for us, then what are we going to do? So, it was a good opportunity to get Riley (Patterson) ready for that," "We didn't have to do it, but we thought the conditions would be good. We knew we're going to have to kick both right and left with the wind and all that stuff. And he does a good job of both of those things. And so it was just a good opportunity."
Fipp also suggested Patterson will be mixed in as the kickoff guy a bit moving forward.
"We'll see. Probably a combination of both at some point, it'll just kind of depend. But I would say for the most part Fox is probably the number one guy. But, I see those guys being able to do it."
In Week 6, Patterson handling kickoffs for the Lions was sheerly rooted in having another option to do it and it being seen as an optimal game to try it.