The Scottish Hammer may need a new nickname after proving to the Cleveland Browns that he can deliver the hits on special teams
He deserves to now be called the Scottish Whammer after tearing up in punt coverage. He is not only the punter, he’s outperforming the Browns’ gunners on punt coverage!
J. T. Hassell is co-leader with Gillan. Hassell, you will recall, is the fine safety out of Division II Florida Tech, where he played linebacker. He’s been hustling on special teams all summer long, so it is not surprising that a guy like Hassel could be tied for the team lead in special teams tackles with three. He deserves to be recognized.
But can anyone out there remember a time when a punter led the team in special teams tackles? It’s crazy, absolutely crazy that a punter could tie for the team lead in tackles even in the chaotic pre-season.
For example, not to take anything from incumbent Browns punter Britton Colquitt, but he has played nine seasons in the NFL, and has two tackles for his entire career. Now here is Gillan making three tackles in four games. Has that ever happened before? Even in exhibition play?
Punters are usually not in a good position to make tackles since they start fifteen yards behind the line of scrimmage. Moreover, punters sometimes run the other way, following the lead of ex-Brown Andy Lee, who famously avoided contact in a Browns exhibition game, and was summarily traded the next week.
Versus Detroit, Gillan nailed punt returner Tom Kennedy along the sideline. Wham! He also stopped Brandon Powell as he returned a free-kick following a Detroit safety. Wham! These stops followed a shoestring tackle made against Tampa Bay the previous week. Wham!
Gillan is not just a rugby player, he is a guy who probably could have been a professional in that sport. Though it is vastly different than American football, the elements of pursuit and tackling are comparable. Put it this way: Jamie Gillan knows how to tackle. He will be like an extra safety on the field, and will not shy away from contact. In fact, rugby players are not shy about anything.
Former Boston College football player Henry Blaha famously provided this commentary on rugby and American football: “Rugby is a beastly game played by gentlemen. Soccer is a gentleman’s game played by beasts. Football is a beastly game played by beasts.”
So there you have it. What a perfect fit to the Browns, and indeed the entire Northeast Ohio region. Rugby players are rough, tough and don’t mind mixing it up in cold weather.
If he survives the cutdown–Britton Colquitt is also an outstanding punter and the decision to move away from him cannot be made lightly–the Scottish Whammer is going to breathe new life into special teams.