Punter Jack Fox Returns to Chiefs with Dustin Colquitt Battling Injury
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Undrafted rookie punter Jack Fox was in Baltimore for a tryout on Monday when he received the word – the Chiefs wanted Fox in Kansas City on its practice squad, reuniting him with special teams coordinator Dave Toub.
“It kind of came out of nowhere, but I stayed in contact with coach Toub and we still have a good relationship, so I was happy to hear about it,” Fox said in the Chiefs' locker room on Wednesday.
The club put Fox to work immediately on Wednesday. Colquitt suffered a quad strain in Sunday's 31-24 loss to the Green Bay Packers, and Toub is familiar with Fox and his potential as an NFL punter.
“Jack, he's got a strong leg,” Toub said during training camp in August. “He's got an NFL leg. You'll see like two or three punts out of five he'll bomb them 5-0 hang time.”
It was the allure of working with Toub that attracted Fox to Kansas City as an undrafted free agent.
“He's a really respected special teams coach in the league and I really liked him as a person,” Fox said. “I ended up getting a lot of reps in preseason, I had a really good opportunity and that's pretty much the reason.”
Toub saw enough potential in Fox that the club brought in longtime special teams coach Kevin O'Dea to work one-on-one with the rookie during training camp.
“He's really into the technical aspects of kicking and punting,” Fox said of O'Dea's teaching. “Just little things from my drop to leg swing, little technical things that kickers and punters really are the only people that know about.
The training camp work appeared to pay off. In four preseason games, Fox averaged 44.1 yards per punt with an average net of 38.6 yards. Fox feels the experienced he gained during his first stint with the club helped him grow as a punter.
“Throughout OTAs and preseason and all that there's just so much pressure every day,” Fox said. “I think that pressure makes you perform and makes you better performing under pressure. Any time you can punt and kick under pressure, I think it's helped me a lot.”
The Chiefs released Fox during the final cut down to the initial 53-man roster leading into the first week of the season. He spent the past two months at home in St. Louis working out on his own and spending time with his family. He also worked with a local coach in St. Louis he's tutored him since high school.
“He helps a bunch of high school kickers, too, so I was helping out there,” Fox said.
Fox said during the time away from the NFL he focused on his consistency, trying to put pressure on himself to maintain his edge. He tried to kick as much as he would if here on an NFL team during the season.
“It's easy to get out there on the practice field and just swing your leg and not have a plan for every kick,” Fox said. “I had a long snapper I worked with and just really tried to put as much pressure on myself as I could.”
Fox also fit in time to hone his skills as a kick holder. Punters also work on their holding skills, he said. He spent two seasons at Rice as a holder when he wasn't serving as a place kicker.
“I think you have to work on just to be as good as you can,” Fox said. “You have the kicker relying on you. If he misses a kick, a lot of people think it's on him, but if you have a bad holder it's really on the holder. Just one of those things out of respect for the kicker I work on as much as I can.”
Head coach Andy Reid said Colquitt wouldn't practice on Wednesday before the club listed him as a limited participant on the injury report. Reid said, “We'll see how he does,” when asked if Colquitt might miss Sunday's game against Minnesota.
Fox is on the practice squad, not the active roster, for now, but he plans to prepare as if he's playing a game this weekend.
“I'm just going to be ready,” Fox said. “I'm going to practice as if I was playing. (The coaches) just said stay ready and we'll see.”