Detroit Is Caught By The Injury Bug At The Punter Position, Forcing Them To Go Shopping.
Back in June, Sam Martin appeared on the teams injured list. Martin injured his ankle during the offseason and was put on the NFI list. As time went on it seemed like Martin would miss the opener and stay on the NFI, keeping him off the field until week seven. So with Martin on track to miss some time, the Lions needed a punter, so they signed Kasey Redfern. Redfern impressed during the preseason and with Martin on the NFI list, he made the 53 man roster.
What happened on week one though, changed the game for the special teams.
Kasey Redfern was backed up into his own end zone during a punt, and when it was snapped, Redfern couldn’t hang onto it, causing him to hold on to the ball and run with it. Since he couldn’t catch the ball, there was no way for him to punt it, so his only option being to run the football, Redfern ran for 11 yards and was tackled, but he came up limping.
Matt Prater had to finish the game as the Lions punter. News broke out on Monday that Redfern has a torn ACL and MCL in his kicking leg, ending his season.
The Lions are working out punters today. Among those in: Matt Darr, Drew Butler, Jeff Locke and Richie Leone.
— Dave Birkett (@davebirkett) September 11, 2017
With Redfern and Martin out, Detroit needs to go shopping at punter, and are working out four players on Monday; let’s take a look at them all.
One of the few punters that have some experience in the NFL, Matt Darr could fit the bill for a few weeks. Darr has punted for two years in Miami, and during that time he punted 182 times for 8,371 yards, his longest going for 70. He has a leg that Detroit could like, as he can pin opponents deep.
One of the many rookies that are available to sign is Richie Leone. During his five games with the Cardinals in the preseason, Leone punted 12 times for 544 yards, four times landing inside the 20-yard line. If the Lions want a young leg with only preseason experience, they could go this route.
One of the very few vets in the free agent punting market, Drew Bulter can do the job. During his four year run in the NFL, Butler has booted the ball 248 times for 10,627 yards, his longest going for 79 yards. He is the most experienced punter out of the four listed here, so he has the most knowledge and it could come in handy while Detroit waits for Martin to return.
While he has only been in the NFL since 2013, Locke was the starting punter for the Minnesota Vikings for the past four seasons. During his four year starting gig, Locke punted the ball 290 times for 12,535 yards, with his longest going 72 yards. You could argue that Locke is currently the best free agent punter on the market. So if Detroit wants to pay up for a few weeks while Martin recovers, Locke could be their best option as he brings a solid leg to the team.
Expectation is Lions will sign Jeff Locke as their new punter after today's workout. Big factor was he can handle kickoffs, too.
— Dave Birkett (@davebirkett) September 12, 2017