The cancellation of the NFL preseason will affect teams in multiple ways. The biggest loss for coaches and front offices will be not getting a chance to evaluate their youngest players in a game environment. For the Lions, that also includes punters Jack Fox and Arryn Siposs, who are vying to replace Sam Martin this season.
Lions special teams coordinator Brayden Coombs said they'll have to get creative in some of the ways they try to simulate a game environment for that particular competition.
"Those two guys, they're both very talented," Coombs said last week of Fox and Siposs. "I think they both have high ceilings. It's just a matter of going out and doing it. Neither of them has done it in a game. With no preseason that's definitely going to be a little different, but we're going to find ways to make it hyper competitive in practice and put them under competitive situations and we'll see who rises to the top. I'm really, really excited for both of those guys."
This year will mark the first time the Lions have a new full-time punter since 2013. Martin left for Denver in free agency this offseason.
The Lions signed Fox to their practice squad back in December after he spent time with the Chiefs in training camp and on their practice squad. He averaged 45.5 yards per punt in his last season in college at Rice in 2018.
Siposs is a 27-year-old rookie who played professional Australian football for five years before switching to American football and punting at Auburn the last two seasons. He averaged 43.8 yards per punt last season for the Tigers.
Martin also handled the holding duties for place kicker Matt Prater and kicked off for the Lions. Those responsibilities could also play a factor in the competition between Fox and Siposs.
"I'm really excited about it, really excited about both of those guys," Coombs said. "We're going to have competition across the board at every position, not just punter. I know that's the big one, but if you ask the guys, that's kind of the number one thing we've been talking about since Day 1 is competition. I think that makes everybody better."
It will be interesting to see what head coach Matt Patricia and Coombs come up with at practice over the next month to try and simulate game evaluation and crank up the competition, not only for Fox and Siposs, but for everyone on special teams.