The Cleveland Browns special teams have been less than special. Now they are bringing in punters to compete. But will it make any difference?
Former Cleveland Browns head coach Paul Brown was the first coach to time players running 40 yards. It has since become a standard for gauging player speed.
It has come under ridicule as late at the NFL combine. It’s more of a circus show than anything. But the current criticism fails to grasp what Brown was getting at by timing his players.
The Browns announced Monday they signed former Green Bay Packers punter Corey Bojorquez. Bojorquez is reportedly the owner of the longest punt in the NFL last year. Such news has Browns Twitter excited that Bojorquez might be able to flip the field for the Browns next season.
As a side note, all punters can kick the ball 70 and 80 yards down the field. Bojorquez having a leg that can kick the ball the full length of the field is like saying the Browns hired an announcer who possesses the physical ability to speak.
It’s an essential element of the job but speaking or kicking 80 yards does not a professional make. Any kicker can kick the ball 80 yards, but a professional kicker knows when and when not to kick it 80 yards.
Let’s tackle three misconceptions about punters.
1. Punters don’t flip the field
In today’s lesson of football 101, we will learn that punters don’t flip the field. Punters kick the football. Period. That is what they do, they kick the football.
Flipping the field is the job of the offense. The offense is responsible for moving the ball away from their own endzone toward the opponents’ end zone. This may seem elementary, but it harkens back to why the punt was originally invented.
Football rules stipulate a team has four plays to achieve 10 yards. If it achieves said yardage, the team earns four more to try and do it again. Then the idea of punting the ball on third down became a popular strategy. Why?
The strategy began as an offensive strategy.
The punt became popular at a time when teams would regularly “go for it” on fourth down. Teams of that era would play four downs and then give the ball over. But — if the team punted on third down, then stopped the opponent in four downs, they would gain all the yardage the punt created.
It was a slick way of giving the offense a quick thirty-to-forty-yard gain with little effort. The strategy was so successful that every team began punting on third down. This obviously negated the advantage of the punt and only now are teams rethinking the strategy.
The idea that a punter’s job is to flip the field as a defensive strategy is a mere evolution of the punt as an offensive weapon. It has also created some serious misconceptions of what punters actually do.
Punters don’t punt to flip the field. They kick the ball to get it as far away from their endzone and as close to the opponents’ endzone as possible.