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A Tale Of Two Punters (And Kickoff Guys)


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A tale of two punters (and kickoff guys)

September, 20, 2011

4:28 PM

By Pat Yasinskas

Since the Atlanta Falcons play the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday it’s time to look at the guys who handle the punting and kickoff duties for both teams.

There’s irony here because the guy who now punts and kicks off for Tampa Bay used to do it for Atlanta. That’s Michael Koenen and he’s having exactly the kind of impact the Bucs imagined when they made him their marquee free-agent signing.

Through two weeks, Koenen is averaging 49.3 yards gross on punts and 45.2 yards net. As a kickoff specialist, five of his nine kicks have gone for touchbacks and opponents are averaging 8.5 yards on returns.

Then, there is Matt Bosher, the sixth-round draft pick who replaced Koenen in Atlanta. Things haven’t started smoothly for Bosher. His gross punting average is 36.8 yards and his net is 35.1 yards. Bosher had an 18-yard punt out of the end zone in Sunday night’s victory against Philadelphia. He’s had only two of his 10 kickoffs go for touchbacks and opponents are averaging 20.8 yards per return.

But those aren’t the only numbers that matter here. There were financial decisions made on both ends about the importance of field position. The Falcons apparently are sticking with Bosher because they did extensive scouting on him and believe he still has potential.

When they drafted him, they knew Bosher might not be as good as Koenen right off the bat. But that’s a sacrifice the Falcons willingly made. They didn’t want to pay Koenen, who once carried the franchise tag, big money.

That’s why the drafted Bosher. He signed a four-year deal that averages $534,000 per season. He’s making $375,000 (the rookie minimum) this year and also received a $95,800 signing bonus.

There’s more irony here because no one ever accuses the Falcons have being cheap and that’s a frequent knock on the Bucs. But Tampa Bay was willing to pay big money for Koenen.

He signed a six-year deal that averages $3.25 million per year and is making $3.5 million in base salary this year.

So far this season, when it comes to field position, the Bucs and Falcons each are getting what they paid for.

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Bosher's last year college stats as follows:

"2010 (SENIOR): Handled all of Miami's field goal, punting and kickoff duties ... Named an All-ACC second team punter ... Averaged 44 yards per punt, including a long of 62 at Virginia ... Made 13-of-17 field goal attempts and 37-of-40 extra points tried ... Successfully converted nine of his last 10 field goal tries ... Ranked second on the team in scoring with 76 points, trailing only Leonard Hankerson (78 points) ....Averaged a career-best 57.8 yards per punt at Virginia, booting punts of 56, 62, 52 and 61 yards against the Cavaliers ... Kicked a season-long 51-yard field goal at No. 2 Ohio State on Sept. 11 ... Had a streak of 105 consecutive extra points made (second-longest streak in school history) snapped at Clemson on Oct. 2 ... Also recorded season-highs for punts (10) and punting yards (463) at Clemson, with half of his punts going over 50 yards ... Landed 19 punts inside the opponent's 20-yard line, including five against USF of Nov. 27 ... Averaged 63.5 yards on kickoffs, with 15 touchbacks ... Was named the Special Teams Player of the Year at the team's annual awards banquet on Dec. 12."

http://hurricanesports.cstv.com/sports/m-footbl/mtt/bosher_matt00.html

Ok Bosher's punting average was much better his last season in college than what he is currently showing. Perhaps he is somewhat scared, and is not getting his full leg into his punts thus far. However, his kickoffs have never been that good. A 63.5 kickoff average will only get the ball to the 2-yard line, but not into the end zone. Hopefully his punting will improve, but I don't think his kickoffs will.

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The Bucs are extremely stupid for paying Koenen over 3 million dollars a season, but seeing as they will be punting a lot more than us it might be money well spent... :P . As for us, Bosher will get better as time goes by. The guy is a rookie and probably needs to get acclimated to the NFL. I don't remember how well Koenen did as a rookie, but he probably got better as time went by. The thing I like about Bosher is if something happened to Bryant in a game then at least Bosher has and can kick and make a field goal. Give the kid a chance people.

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It's the kickoffs that bother me. I would use a roster spot just for a pure kickoff specialist if it means we have someone that can boot it out of the endzone most of the time. How many yards a game do you think that would add up to? On avg it may not be much, but its the big ones that can change the outcome of a game.

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It's the kickoffs that bother me. I would use a roster spot just for a pure kickoff specialist if it means we have someone that can boot it out of the endzone most of the time. How many yards a game do you think that would add up to? On avg it may not be much, but its the big ones that can change the outcome of a game.

Actually, if our coverage is solid, kicking to the 2--- but with good hang time--- gives us a chance to down them inside the 20. Bosher will be just fine.

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Some of it may have to do with the new rules. The NFL has stated that if more than 60% of the kickoffs result in touchbacks they will revert back to the old rule for kickoffs.

That being said, Mike Smith is a defensive coach and would prefer to have less touchbacks this season, allowing his coverage team to make the play and pin the opposing offenses deep in their own territory.

It's all strategy...except that 18 yard punt...that was pitiful...

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Based on the $$$$, we had to get Bosher and let MK go. Until we lose a game because of it...worth it. Releasing guys like MJ12, JA98, and MK freed up needed monies to to sign players we had to acquire.

Hester and DJ for your first two games should make any kicker a little shaky...let alone a rookie. I err on the side of patience with Bosher.

Weems on punt rt is more concerning to me...he has the experience.

Edited by Mid-Nite-Toker
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Some of it may have to do with the new rules. The NFL has stated that if more than 60% of the kickoffs result in touchbacks they will revert back to the old rule for kickoffs.

That being said, Mike Smith is a defensive coach and would prefer to have less touchbacks this season, allowing his coverage team to make the play and pin the opposing offenses deep in their own territory.

It's all strategy...except that 18 yard punt...that was pitiful...

You seriously think that Coach smith would do that? Im so tired of excuses bosher blows.

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