June 13, 2021

Detroit Lions’ Jack Fox, coming off Pro Bowl season, has one thing in his game to work on

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One of the best punters in the NFL has spent a large part of his offseason working on holding.

Pro Bowl punter Jack Fox said on Day 2 of Detroit Lions minicamp Wednesday that he changed his holding stance this spring to hold kicks from more of a side angle.

“I think I’ve gotten to be a better holder so far, especially being here the last couple weeks, getting a lot of snaps,” Fox said. “Having two kickers and two snappers (in camp), I’m getting a lot of work at holding.”

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Lions punter Jack Fox warms up before the game against the Saints on Sunday, Oct. 4, 2020, at Ford Field.

Lions punter Jack Fox warms up before the game against the Saints on Sunday, Oct. 4, 2020, at Ford Field.

Last year, Fox said he held for kicks from an open stance, which positioned him more behind the ball. By closing his stance, he said kickers should have a better view of the ball when he catches it from the long snapper.

The Lions have competitions brewing at both kicker and long snapper.

Matthew Wright, who made all seven of his field goal and extra point attempts for the Pittsburgh Steelers last season, and free agent addition Randy Bullock are vying to replace Matt Prater at kicker. Don Muhlbach and Scott Daly are in camp at snapper.

Bullock said Fox travel to Houston earlier this offseason to work with him and Muhlbach.

Prater struggled with his accuracy at times last season, making just 10 of 17 kicks from 40-plus yards. Though Prater said late in the season holding was not an issue, Fox said it may have contributed to some of Prater’s misses.

Lions kicker Matt Prater kicks the field goal as punter Jack Fox holds during the second half of the Lions' 26-23 win on Sunday, Sept. 27, 2020, in Glendale, Ariz.

Lions kicker Matt Prater kicks the field goal as punter Jack Fox holds during the second half of the Lions’ 26-23 win on Sunday, Sept. 27, 2020, in Glendale, Ariz.

“I think I did fine last year,“ Fox said. “I think there’s definitely room for improvement. Prater’s such a great guy, if you ask him he’ll say, ‘Yeah, holding wasn’t a problem.’ But I’m sure he missed a couple kicks because the holds could have been better. So yeah, I’ve just worked on being more perfect in the holding.”

As for punting, where he set a Lions record with a 44.8-yard net average last season, Fox said he spent last offseason preparing for the training camp competition he had with Arryn Siposs.

Now secure in his job, the second-team All-Pro said he sees plenty of room to improve in situational areas, too.

“I think I’m pretty hard on myself anyway, so I think I’m pretty nitpicky with myself,” Fox said. “I think I’ve done a good job of focusing on smaller things. … Not every kick’s going to be perfect, but I’ve been working on a lot of things that I didn’t do well last year.”

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

This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Detroit Lions Pro Bowler Jack Fox has one thing in his game to work on

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