Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

03 Nov 2011

Walkthrough: Lovin', Puntin', Screenin'

by Mike Tanier

Bar Massa, Manhattan, October 30, 2031

KIM: Reggie? Reggie is that you? Over here, in the private-but-not-too-private booth!

REGGIE: I see you! I am just having trouble getting past these busboys. Spin move. Juke! Juke! Here I am. It is great to see you! You haven’t aged a day in over 20 years. What’s your secret?

KIM: Thompson’s Water Seal. And you are in great shape. Is curling keeping you fit?

REGGIE: It is, but I am thinking of leaving the Danish team. I can be more than just a situational sweeper. They say I move the stone laterally too much and don’t know how to sweep it straight up into the house. I will show them. How are the sisters?

KIM: Still connected. Saying no to Kardashian Centipede was the best move of my career.

REGGIE: Well, when Tom Six and Lars von Trier dipped their feet into reality television you knew it would be weird. Gosh, has it really been 20 years since we did this?

KIM: Yes. Here at the Bar Massa, the day of the October snowstorm.

REGGIE: All I wanted to do was cuddle by the fire with someone. It was just before the big Giants game.

KIM: And before that great pedicure and my shopping spree on Fifth Avenue.

REGGIE: And your divorce, right?

KIM: Really? Oh, I probably squeezed one of those in somewhere, too. I was thinking, Reggie: our careers were never better than they were that day. We were on top of the world that weekend. Maybe ... maybe we were meant to be together after all.

REGGIE: Now Kim, you know we cannot do this. We are too well respected by the national media. We would not want to tarnish our reputations by doing something they might interpret as a publicity stunt.

KIM: But Reggie-poo...

REGGIE: Don’t make this hard, Kim. I have to think of my legions of fans, who followed me from USC to the Saints, the Dolphins, the Redskins, Destroyers, Argonauts, Soul, SteelHawks, Red Bulls, rodeo, jousting, and now curling.

KIM: I suppose so.

REGGIE: And what about you? You are Kim Thomas Humphries Ponder Napoli Barnwell Romney Danza Terwilliger Kardashian. What would people think if either of us entered a relationship simply to advance our careers?

KIM: You are right. I am just glad we can stay friends. Say, what was that roaring noise? Did you hear a roaring noise?

KRIS HUMPHRIES: RAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARRRRR! Where they? Where Kim and little shifty man? Me spend 20 years searching all over world to find you?

KIM: Really? I mean, every move either of us make is publicized. Have you been living under a fungus covered rock?

KRIS HUMPHRIES: You no criticize Humphries’ decorating. You lost that right. Me had friend help find you. Shifty man’s college coach.

PETE CARROLL: I am SOOOOO HORMONAL right now! Where is Reggie Bush?

REGGIE: Oh man, he is crazy when he is like this. And what did you ever see in that Humphries guy?

KIM: You, him: in summer and fall of 2011, I was into guys with zero wins. We better escape. Kris is shaking the frame of the building, and Carroll is injecting testosterone between his toes.

REGGIE: I will get us out of here. It is a straight line to the emergency exit. Shift! Fake! Cut left! Cut right! Backtrack! Spin! Kim? Where did you go? How did you beat me to the exit?

KIM: Farewell, Reggie. Farewell, Kris. I am joining a convent.

REGGIE: Ahhh! I am being buried alive! Ahhh!

PETE CARROLL: Wow. Destroying this building and smothering Reggie Bush got it all out of my system. Stan, when will that NBA season get going?

KRIS HUMPHRIES: Any day now.

The Screen

Let us now celebrate the Eagles tight end screen: the weapon of choice for making the Cowboys look extra silly on Sunday night.

Figure 1: Celling the Celek Screen

Figure 1 shows the Eagles facing second-and-7 with a 14-point lead in the second quarter. Everything is clicking for the Eagles offense, but they must remain wary of DeMarcus Ware (94), who already has one sack in the game, will have three more, and is a mismatch for any blocker the Eagles can throw at them. If Ware is going to go through you, you may as well go around him, which is Andy Reid’s plan for Brent Celek (87) on this play.

The blocking scheme on a tight end screen is critical; if the offense cannot get some linemen out to the second level, the tight end will not go anywhere. As shown, Jason Peters (71) and Evan Mathis (69) briefly double-team Jay Ratliff (90). The goal is to turn Ratliff inside, so he is out of Celek’s way. Mathis does an excellent job, and Peters is soon free to go downfield. Center Jason Kelce (62) takes Kenyon Coleman (99) to his right, allowing the defender to get well upfield. Kelce gets manhandled but does just enough to keep Coleman away from Michael Vick, allowing Danny Watkins (63) to go downfield as soon as the pass is thrown.

Celek has the hardest job: he must convincingly block Ware without getting clobbered, then slide inside for the pass. Ware knows that teams like to run screens on him, so not only does he blow Celek backward, but he ties him up, not shoving the tight end aside until he is close enough to Vick to make a play. Ware comes within inches of batting the screen away, but once he is out of the play, the Eagles have no one to worry about.

Downfield, Peters absolutely levels Keith Brooking (51), who probably should have read the screen a little more quickly. Brooking has no eligible receivers other than Celek in his zone and can clearly see Peters standing around for a split second, blocking no one, as if he is waiting for a reason to chug downfield. LeSean McCoy (25) helps Watkins with Bradie James (58). Most interestingly, the Cowboys safeties do not appear until Celek is well into the secondary. That is because they were rolling deep; the end zone camera shows one heading into the deep middle while the other races to DeSean Jackson’s side of the field. That’s one reason the Celek screen can be such an effective counterpunch for the Eagles: opponents cannot commit safeties to covering the short middle of the field. By the time the Cowboys converge and bring Celek down, he has gained 15 yards.

Figure 2: No Harbor

And who says it has to be a Celek screen? Figure 2 shows the start of the fourth quarter, just after Celek gained 15 yards on another short pass that was not technically a screen (it was a delay-release pass with no blockers going downfield). It is first down, and the Cowboys are expecting the Eagles to start milking clock, so they gamble with a cornerback blitz. The Eagles, lined up in a tight bunch to the right, appear to be running a "windback" counter play. All of the action, including the play-fake to McCoy, suggests a run to the right, while Clay Harbor (82) pulls behind the formation to "block" any backside pursuit and create a cutback lane. But Harbor is actually running a pass route.

What makes this play a screen and not some kind of waggle is that Peters, Mathis, and Watkins all block with an eye toward moving downfield. Also, Harbor sits down in his route. Ware is once again bamboozled: he assumes Habor has been sent to block him, so he sidesteps the very receiver he should be covering! Ware being Ware, he once again gets to Vick so quickly that the quarterback barely gets the pass off. Harbor catches the pass with no Cowboys near him and a wall of huge blockers in front of him.

Safety Gerald Sensabaugh (43) is not visible on the television tape. Since he was covering Jackson on the cornerback blitz, I put him as far downfield as possible in the diagram. As in the Celek screen, the Cowboys safety has the thankless job of rushing up from far away to try to clean up a play. This time, Sensabaugh gets to slam into Peters. Peters is penalty prone and can get beaten badly by top pass rushers, but he is a lot of fun to watch when blocking on screens. Harbor gains 12 yards on this play, and if you were not already in bed, this was the final signal that the Cowboys were not going to execute some miracle comeback.

These screens are a sign that the Eagles are more comfortable with their offensive line personnel than they were early in the year. Getting Peters back was a major boost, and Mathis is coming around at left guard. Kelce will probably have trouble all year, and Watkins has not shown very much yet, but the jailbreaks of the first few weeks should now be less common. The linemen now have their timing established, and Reid can trust them to release pass rushers and head downfield.

This is the Eagles offense we thought we would see early in the year: Jackson and Jeremy Maclin stretching the defense deep, McCoy, Celek, and a cast of thousands working the spaces in between. It is not quite perfect, but it is no longer brilliantly painful, and it should be a lot of fun to watch for the next few weeks.

Flogging the Book

I will be at the Free Library of Philadelphia on Monday, November 14, signing copies of The Philly Fan’s Code and talking about Philly sports.

The FLOP is located at 1901 Vine Street in Center City, right in the heart of everything. I go on at about 7:30 p.m., the event is free. I will probably dash out for a beer to watch the Monday night game afterward.

Speaking of beer, I will also be at The Field House bar, right next to the Reading Terminal Market, on December 1, during the Thursday night Eagles-Seahawks game. I will be signing books and maybe doing a little trivia during timeouts. It’s a great chance to have a beer, buy a book, and watch me slip into a Seahawks-induced coma.

Also, the Football Outsiders television takeover continues: sharp-eyed viewers may catch me on NBC Sportstalk on Wednesday nights on Versus. Check the Twitter feed to learn of my comings and goings.

Helium Balls

While sifting through the all-time leader boards this week, I made an interesting discovery. Punting averages have gone up this year. Way up.

The current NFL gross punting average is 45.1, up from 43.4 in 2010 and 44.1 in 2009. Punting averages go down when the weather gets colder, so some settling is likely to take place in this year’s totals. They will probably wind up close to the 2009 or 2010 figures by season’s end.

But here’s the thing: those 2009 and 2010 numbers were extremely high compared to historic averages. As recently as 2004, the league gross average was 42.0 yards per kick. The average was 41.9 in 2000. The average hovered between 40.5 and 41.5 for most of the 1980s and 1990s. We have gained about 2.5 yards per punt in the last few years, which over the course of a season comes out to over 6,000 punting yards.

The effect is most pronounced when you look at the all-time punting leader boards. Eight of the ten career punting average leaders are currently active. Six of them are 30 years old or younger. Some of these punters will see their averages dip as they get older and their sample size increases. But all-time leader Shane Lechler is not likely to leave the top of the list anytime soon: he currently averages 52.2 yards per punt, and at 34, his career averages are going up, not down. The same goes for Cowboys punter Mat McBriar. He averaged 49.9 yards per punt entering Sunday night and is likely to post his highest career punting average at age 32. The trend toward higher punting grosses is lifting all boats and may be powerful enough to counteract the effect of aging.

Slide over to the all-time single-season lists, and you find that seven of the top-ten single-season averages are from 2011! Again, cold weather and larger samples are going to eliminate a few of those seasons. Take out our unfinished year, and Sammy Baugh still holds the all-time single season punting record with 51.4 yards per punt. Lechler, in 2009, is second. Donnie Jones in 2008 is third. Lechler in 2007 is fourth. Glenn Dobbs, from 1948, is fifth, followed by McBriar in 2008, followed by Yale Lary in 1963. Then Lechler, Baugh, Lary as if shuffling a deck, with McBriar and Dobbs poking their heads in again further down the list.

The culprit, I suspect, besides punters getting bigger and stronger and better trained, is that teams go for it on fourth down near midfield much more than they used to. The rise in punting averages appears to coincide with an increased understanding that fourth-and-1 from the opponent’s 46-yard line is really a go-for-it down. In the mid 1980s, the only coach who would regularly go for it in that situation was Bill Parcells; it was considered automatic punting territory. Punts from around midfield are usually short pooch punts, and six or seven of them per year for each player probably brought averages down, on aggregate, by perhaps a yard.

Proving that a reduction in pooch punts has had that great an impact on the increase in gross averages is tricky. It is the type of dig-deep research better done in mid-February. As a percentage of plays, punts have held steady in recent years. In 2010, teams punted once every 13.1 offensive plays. In 2004, they punted every 12.7 plays. In 1988, when the gross punting average was 40.6 and going for it on fourth down was an emergency-only strategy for nearly every coach, teams punted every 13.1 offensive plays. There are many variables that affect the number of plays per punt, starting with offensive levels. Trying to tease a specific situation -– a punter tapping a 28-yarder into the coffin corner five times per season in 1991 but only once in 2011 –- from the raw totals is probably impossible.

Looking at touchback and inside-the-20 totals is also dicey. You would figure that fewer kicks from the midfield range would mean fewer touchbacks and inside-the-20 situations. Unfortunately, it is hard to find any truth in the statistical noise. Jeff Feagles had 40 punts land inside the 20 or for touchbacks for the 1991 Eagles, in 87 attempts. In 2009, he had 25 touchbacks/inside-the-20’s in 64 punts. As a percentage, his number of "near the end zone" kicks went up significantly, not down. Select other punters and other years, and you get less pronounced or contradictory results. If fourth-and-short strategies are affecting punting averages, the effect is very hard to diffuse among teams, years, and punters.

Whatever the causes, we now see a roller coaster pattern in the all-time punting leader boards. For decades, Baugh and Dobbs were at the top of the lists, their 1940s records unassailable. Punting was a little different back then: players like Dobbs were both punters and return men, and directional punting plus slower return men equaled a lot of long, rolling punts. The effect of rolling punts is sometimes overstated to explain away Baugh’s punting record: only a handful of punters could do what he and Dobbs (an AAFC all-purpose player with a short-but-fascinating career) did in the 1940s, so every punt was not rolling through the mud while a slow-footed quarterback/safety chased it. But the standardization of punting and return strategies and techniques shaved away the outliers over the years, locking gross averages in place from about the merger until five or six years ago. By Baugh’s era, the strategy of punting on early downs had all but disappeared. The punter/return man disappeared around Yale Lary’s era, in the mid 1960s. The specialist punter (or kicker-punter at least) joined the fast, professionalized return man to create a balance: the punt went around 42 yards, the return about eight yards, for decades.

Now, the balance is off by almost three yards. A two-to-three yard per play change, against the backdrop of NFL history, is a big deal. It is a sign that the game itself is changing, in a quiet way that many people may not be noticing.

Posted by: Mike Tanier on 03 Nov 2011

41 comments, Last at 09 Nov 2011, 4:17pm by alaano

Comments

1
by dryheat :: Thu, 11/03/2011 - 11:07am

REGGIE: Don’t make this hard, Kim. I have to think of my legions of fans, who followed me from USC to the Saints, the Dolphins, the Redskins, Destroyers, Argonauts, Soul, SteelHawks, Red Bulls, rodeo, jousting, and now curling.

REGGIE: And what about you? You are Kim Thomas Humphries Ponder Napoli Barnwell Romney Danza Terwilliger Kardashian. What would people think if either of us entered a relationship simply to advance our careers?

I don't know which list I enjoy more, although there doesn't appear to be enough professional athletes in the second.

5
by jw124164 :: Thu, 11/03/2011 - 12:36pm

But "Barnwell" and "Terwilliger" are perfect - I LOL'd.

12
by Kevin from Philly :: Thu, 11/03/2011 - 2:16pm

Yeah, but Danza in there is genius.

2
by PerlStalker :: Thu, 11/03/2011 - 11:08am

I, for one, support our ROBO-PUNTER overlords.

3
by Thunderbolt of ... :: Thu, 11/03/2011 - 11:27am

FO has play-by-play data back to the early 90s, at least. Since most of the change in gross averages has occurred since then, would it be possible to simply get a breakdown of the average yard line punted from each year since then? It wouldn't be perfect, but it would perhaps give a hint if you're onto something.

Also, average field goal percentage has increased dramatically in the past 20 years. Perhaps improved coaching (or some undetectable leg steroid) really is to credit for much of the improvement in the kicking game. Anyway, there's a fantastic article about the increased field goal percentages here:
http://www.crossingwallstreet.com/archives/2011/11/the-under-reported-fo...

4
by Doug Jones (not verified) :: Thu, 11/03/2011 - 12:21pm

"By Baugh’s era, the strategy of punting on early downs had all but disappeared."

Why on earth did teams punt on early downs back then?

6
by Jeremy Billones :: Thu, 11/03/2011 - 1:02pm

Without a reliable passing game, converting a 2nd or 3rd and long was much less likely. Punting when the other team is not set up for a return can be quite effective, and if you are unlikely to convert the 1st down it is a low cost strategy.

11
by Deelron :: Thu, 11/03/2011 - 2:07pm

I do wonder even now if some of the more defense oriented teams would benefit on a 3rd and 20 quick kick now and then.

19
by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Thu, 11/03/2011 - 3:35pm
23
by sswoods (not verified) :: Thu, 11/03/2011 - 8:46pm

In the earliest days of football - during the 19th century - up through the founding of the NFL in 1920, scoring a TD was very rare, relatively, easily less than one a game for a long time. (Though, even now the average is only up to 2.2.) The game was built around field position. It was common practice to try and flip field position as opposed to trying to get a drive going. So a punt to flip it was a standard, and effective, strategy - especially if the defense didn't have anyone back to return it. There are even examples where the offense punted on first down! Data prior to 1933 in the NFL is pretty scarce, but there is a gradual increase of touchdown scoring during the 30's, then a pretty big uptick with free substitution and a huge uptick during WWII. That just so happens to be Baugh's career - '37-'52, I believe. Most of the early down punting was going away during the late 20's and early 30's; early in Baugh's career it still happened enough to be normal but by his prime years in the early 40s offenses were too good to just give up those possessions, and it became pretty rare.

26
by Pat (filler) (not verified) :: Fri, 11/04/2011 - 1:34pm

Is this some different definition of free substitution I don't know about? As far as I knew free substitution was instituted in the NFL in 1950, after World War II.

By PFR's historical data, the advent of free substitution ended the increase in touchdown scoring, with 1948 having the most touchdowns per team game in NFL history at 3.3 (highest scoring year in NFL history, at 23.2 points/game), and total touchdowns/game decreasing to the modern level of 2.3 TDs/game by about the late 60s (just in time for the Super Bowl era, interestingly enough).

Everything you said about Baugh is still right, I think you just misspoke regarding the eras.

35
by sswoods (not verified) :: Sat, 11/05/2011 - 1:00am

As I understand it, and please correct me if I'm mistaken, but the NFL adopted free substitution in 1937 or '38, then tried to rein it back in a few years later before returning again to unlimited free substitution in 1950.

37
by Jerry :: Sat, 11/05/2011 - 5:18am

According to the NFL Record & Fact Book's "Chronology of Professional Football", free substitution was adopted in 1943. (Coaching from the bench was legalized in 1944.) In 1946, free substitution was withdrawn and substitutions were limited to no more than three men at a time. in January 1949, the league adopted free substitution for a year, and restored it permanently in January 1950.

7
by Pat (filler) (not verified) :: Thu, 11/03/2011 - 1:07pm

Now, the balance is off by almost three yards. A two-to-three yard per play change, against the backdrop of NFL history, is a big deal. It is a sign that the game itself is changing, in a quiet way that many people may not be noticing.

The other huge change is field goal kicking, which is just going steadily up and up and up. That, I think, is a lot harder to pin on anything except kickers getting better. Seriously, if you look at field goal percentages from about the 40-49 yard line since 1960, it's almost a dead-linear line heading upwards, about half a percent per year. And it's not really because they're attempting closer field goals - even 50+ yard field goals are improving about half a percent per year, and extra points were increasing about 0.5% per year until about 15 years ago when they hit about 98.5-99%.

So given that field goal kicking's gotten better, I think it's more likely that punters are just getting stronger. It's kindof amazing, for all of the people constantly saying "oh my God passing's going nuts" (and it's now settling back down, and will probably continue to settle a bit more), it's probably the kicking game that's really going nuts.

After all, total touchdowns per game have been basically flat for the past 25 years (and they were higher in the early 1980s). It's field goals made per game that have steadily increased.

8
by Karl Cuba :: Thu, 11/03/2011 - 1:11pm

This is anecdotal at best but I think that more punters are trying to get the return man backpedaling. Historically this has been criticised as outkicking your coverage but I've seen Andy Lee and a couple of others boom a 60ish yard line drive from their own 20 and force the returner to face away from the defense as they go back to field the ball. I think this could be partly responsible for increased averages.

18
by ammek :: Thu, 11/03/2011 - 3:19pm

Mike Tanier ought to have added that punt return yardage is also increasing. This season's average of 10.1 yards per return is the highest since 1952 and a full two yards per return higher than in 2005. Net punting is only up by about half a yard over the 21st century average, and it's actually lower than in 2009.

Taking a quick look at the stats, it seems that:

— The percentage of punts that get returned has barely altered, but within the data there are significant differences. For instance, punts marked 'out of bounds' have halved since the turn of the millennium, and touchbacks are down by about 20% (from 10% of all punts to about 8%). Yet the proportion of punts that are downed has risen steadily, and fair catches are up in 2011.

— There has been a small increase in the proportion of punts landing inside the opponents' 20-yard line, from about 28% in the late 1990s to 30% in 2011.

— Teams are punting less often than they did a decade ago. The late 1990s saw a boom in punt numbers as crappy quarterbacks began to throw the ball away rather than get sacked or throw picks. The passing-era high was attained in 1999 when teams punted an average of nearly 83 times per season. We're on course for nearly 200 fewer punts than that in 2011. That's not due to coaching boldness: there have been 189 fourth-down attempts so far in 2011, which projects to 417 over the whole season, far fewer than the 473 fourth-down attempts in 1999.

28
by LionInAZ (not verified) :: Fri, 11/04/2011 - 2:18pm

I agree, I would have liked to see the data for net average punt.

This is why I don't get why Shane Lechler has been so highly regarded. He does whale the ball downfield, but his net average is middling. Opponents are averaging more than 15 yards per punt return against him.

38
by Bright Blue Shorts :: Sat, 11/05/2011 - 7:50pm

At least make the effort to glance at the easily accessible stats on NFL.com before casting misleading aspersions.

Lechler has netted over 40.0 yds per kick every year since 2007. Prior to 2007 no punter had ever even managed to get over 40.0 net.

Here's Lechler's ranking in net yards for the last 4 full seasons ...
2007 #1 41.1yds
2008 #1 41.2
2009 #1 43.9 (technically he was 2nd to Craig Hentrich's 44.1 off 9 punts)
2010 #2 40.8

I'm not cherrypicking, I just can't be bothered to go back further - I suspect he would look worse in the past. I know that Lechler used to think it was all about gross and then somewhere along the road he figured out it was about contribution to the team.

39
by Shattenjager :: Sat, 11/05/2011 - 11:58pm

2000: #1 38.0 yards
2001: #14 35.6 yards
2002: #24 32.7 yards
2003: #3 37.2 yards
2004: #9 37.2 yards
2005: #10 37.9 yards
2006: #22 36.4 yards

Note: I took out everyone who had fewer than 10 punts, so the rankings I list do not correspond exactly to what you see on NFL.com.

9
by Raiderjoe :: Thu, 11/03/2011 - 1:16pm

Kim kardashjan not even hott. Alsi annoying viuce and talking style. Butt hey jf B. Barnwell gets to doink her thenn mote power to him if that is whay he likes. That part of article make fhink that m. Tanier once in Badnwell's bedroom and saw a Kardashuan postrr on wall or ceiling.

Anyway if coulh marry a celebrity would go for Rihanna.

14
by Kevin from Philly :: Thu, 11/03/2011 - 2:20pm

Agreed on KK, but Rihanna? I've learned the hard way: never date a girl with a crazy ex-boyfriend.

17
by Raiderjoe :: Thu, 11/03/2011 - 2:39pm

Rihanna= nice to look at. Am aware shr waas wuth C. Brown. Also later with M. Kemp and probalby madd him have crap yr in 2010. Anyway married already to Caribbean woman so comment abovd was reallly only about Rihanna hotness. Will discisss hash mark commebt tonight shen in front of PC and how Kickers like Ray Wetsching come ibto play

10
by Raiderjoe :: Thu, 11/03/2011 - 1:22pm

Would like to see uprights made more narrow. So hash marks would be narrowed tooo. This would make it harderr to kick succccessful FGs and XPs. Temas would try less FGs so they wiuld have offense on field for m4th doens more. Would be cooler basically

13
by Pat (filler) (not verified) :: Thu, 11/03/2011 - 2:20pm

Why narrow the hashmarks? Narrow the uprights, keep the hashmarks the same. Makes kicking harder, and either doesn't alter the effects on normal plays (if you don't widen them).

Been curious as to what widening the hashmarks would do for normal plays, for that matter. Don't really know - could help defenses, since it starts to make it harder to run plays on one side of the field, but could help offenses since it opens up space on the non-crowded side. Or could do nothing.

15
by Karl Cuba :: Thu, 11/03/2011 - 2:21pm

How about differently shaped posts at different heights, with different points values. Hit the star at the top for 5 points!

16
by Mike Tanier :: Thu, 11/03/2011 - 2:30pm

Just to verify... when talking about narrowing the uprights, we have changed the subject from Rhianna, right?

21
by John (not verified) :: Thu, 11/03/2011 - 8:35pm

I don't even know who Rhianna (Rihanna?) is, but this made me laugh out loud.

24
by Shattenjager :: Thu, 11/03/2011 - 11:47pm

I don't really know either. It seems like she's a professional girlfriend, truthfully. I know her name and what she looks like just because I'm a Dodger fan.

27
by LionInAZ (not verified) :: Fri, 11/04/2011 - 2:12pm

Rihanna is a singer. A pretty well known one, at that.

29
by Raiderjoe :: Fri, 11/04/2011 - 2:37pm

Some of songs veery e.joyable too. Also like when she dye hair red.

Hash marj commebt tonite. Ran out of gime for it lasg nite

32
by Shattenjager :: Fri, 11/04/2011 - 9:29pm

That explains why I didn't really know who she was. As a general rule, I don't listen to music released during my lifetime.

20
by Bright Blue Shorts :: Thu, 11/03/2011 - 6:06pm

I sent a question into FO in Oct 2009 mentioning that Shane Lechler was averaging 52.2 yds per kick after 7 games ... even more impressively his net was 45.0 at the time. He ended up netting 43.9 yds per kick that year! Barnwell dismissively wrote back "Punting averages are always up through the first half of the season -- they go down as the season goes along." There was no further discussion so well done Mr Tanier on picking up on this.

Nets are up since 2007. Prior to that year no-one had ever netted over 40.0 yds per kick, it's been done 17 times since. Ultimately net yardage is more important to field position. Shane Lechler is averaging over 40 this year AND he's had a punt returned for a TD!

I wonder if part of the better nets are down to punters learning to use the Aussie Rules kick to avoid TBs.

31
by chemical burn :: Fri, 11/04/2011 - 5:06pm

Wait, wait, wait - barnwell said something dismissive that turned out to be factually dubious?

22
by Jerry :: Thu, 11/03/2011 - 8:46pm

BTW, nice plug for Mike's book in this week's TMQ.

25
by 3.14159265 (not verified) :: Fri, 11/04/2011 - 3:45am

Bring back the coffin corner kicks, and averages would go back down.

30
by PHn (not verified) :: Fri, 11/04/2011 - 4:22pm

"Lovin', Puntin', Screenin'" ... and no Steve Perry, "Lights", or Journey reference? Not even "Wheel (route) in the Sky"? Did I miss something more subtle?

33
by Raiderjoe :: Fri, 11/04/2011 - 11:18pm

Ray Wersching , p. Edinger and some others usdd hash marks to jelp kick field goals and extra poibts. Remembet when former Raiders gerat heas ciach J. Madden write about it in boook "One Knee Equals Twi Feet". Gerat book. take a look.

Haash marks teallt need to br aligned witg uprights. It jusf right thing to do. Have other commebt to makr about hash matks but getttibg drunk in little while and won't wfite anyrhing else tonight. Ateady couple bottlds into Sierra Nevada Tunbke box.

36
by tuluse :: Sat, 11/05/2011 - 1:12am

I miss watching Paul Edinger kick. Easily the most entertaining kicker I've ever seen. Go Corkscrew!

34
by Tom Gower :: Fri, 11/04/2011 - 11:27pm

Both kicking and punting are up even more than they were last year. I wonder if the NFL tweaked the K-balls at all in the offseason; I don't recall hearing anything about it, but they might have done it without telling us a la MLB.

BTW, Raiderjoe's plug for Madden's "One Knee Equals Two Feet" isn't just Raiders homerism; it's up there with the best books on football and even though it's 25 years old doesn't feel incredibly dated.

40
by chugchugchug (not verified) :: Wed, 11/09/2011 - 3:55am

I wonder if the improvement in the kicking game may be attributable to better playing surfaces? Improved grass care, more games in domes, and realistic fake grass would presumably give kickers much more confidence in their plant foot. (Domes also keep the ball warm and remove wind).

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by alaano (not verified) :: Wed, 11/09/2011 - 4:17pm

My first thought is the death of the so-called coffin corner. I assume the coffin corner created more kicks out of bounds between the 10 and the 25 (18 yard punts used to be not too infrequent). The strategy of trying to get it to die or be downed inside the five not only increases the yardage, but the failure to succeed is now and even longer punt (a touchback) whereas the failure before was the muffed coffin corner that went out at the 28.