Rams’ Johnny Hekker having the greatest punting season ever

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Rams coach Jeff Fisher took some criticism yesterday when he said, “We’re on a record-setting pace with our punt team.” For the coach of one of the worst teams in the league to boast about punting doesn’t sit well with some football fans.

But here’s the thing: Rams punter Johnny Hekker really is having a great season. He’s having perhaps the greatest season of any punter in NFL history.

Net punting average is the single most important stat to use to evaluate a punter, and by that measure Hekker is having the best season ever, and it’s not even close. Hekker is already the only punter in NFL history to finish a season with a net average of over 44 yards, setting the league record for net punting average at 44.2 yards in 2013,. But this year Hekker isn’t just over 44 yards, he’s over 45 yards: If he stays at his current pace of 45.8 yards, he’ll obliterate his own record.

And Hekker is consistently putting opposing teams in bad field position: He already has 40 punts inside the 20-yard line this season, by far the most in the league and within striking distance of the NFL record of 46. At his current pace, Hekker will finish the season with 53 punts inside the 20-yard line.

Perhaps most amazingly, Hekker is nailing all those punts inside the 20 without kicking any too far: He has just one touchback this season. A ratio of 40 punts inside the 20 to one touchback is preposterous.

So laugh if you must at Fisher propping up his punting team. But know this: Fisher’s punter is having the best punting season ever.

36 responses to “Rams’ Johnny Hekker having the greatest punting season ever

  1. What’s sad is the Jags drafted a punter in the third round while Hekker was a UDFA in the same class. I don’t know who the greatest punter of all time is, but Hekker will challenge him when it’s all said and done. He is a really great punter.

  2. Jeff Fisher is like the stupid gym teacher in a teenage movie, appearing confident, but in reality incredibly incompetent.

  3. .
    Belichick didn’t refer to him as a punter. He referred to him as a weapon. Hekker proved that point by booming a 77 yard punt that left the Patriots inside their own 5 in last Sunday’s game.

  4. I don’t disagree that its an important stat, but its also flawed logic to use that number by itself when evaluating a punter. I say that because the position of the line of scrimmage plays a major role in that number.

    A team like the Rams, that completely sucks on offense, is often punting the ball from somewhere in the area of their own 40 yard line. Giving the punter 59 yards available to him, should the punt team down it at the opponents 1 yard line. A punter on a team with a good offense is going to be punting from midfield, or even in their opponents territory. If the ball is at your opponents 42 yard line, you aren’t going to kick a 60 yard field goal, you are gonna punt. So if that punter places it perfectly, and the ball is downed at the 1, he only gets credit for a 41 yard punt. Meanwhile, Hekker gets credit for 50, 55, 60, etc.

    Not to take away from Hekker, he is the best punter in the league, and he has been the best at putting the opponent inside the 20 as well. I’m just saying for punters and their stats, its actually an advantage to play for a team with a terrible offense, because you have more available punt yardage than the punter for a good offense. To me, the most important number is “inside the 20”, and Hekker is the best at that too

  5. Fisher also said, “We are on a record-setting pace with our losingest head coach of all time team.”

  6. If you really want to know the state of the Los Angeles Rams I can tell you with confidence that Hekker has been the MVP of the team this season….and that’s not a good thing.

  7. idpfantasyfootball says:
    Dec 6, 2016 10:15 AM
    Yeah… but can he out-dance Marquette King


    Yeah, seriously though. What about his swag?

  8. Its great for the player and for his team.

    What’s not great is the reason he’s having this season. That the offense is so horribly bad he’s constantly out there.

    That this is the only thing Fisher can brag about is an insult to the fans. Rams fan should stay away from the remaining home games by the truckload. Cancel your season tix next year and send a message to the owner. Empty stadium and poor renewal rate will be the only thing that gets his attention.

  9. Hekker is having a great season no question. He”ll also be the first to tell you that you have to give credit to the punt team. Those other 10 guys fly around and leave no space for returns.

  10. Now I understand why Madden has him as their 11th best punter as of a couple of weeks ago. That’s right. A top 5 punter all time is the 11th best right now, according to Madden. Embarrassing.

  11. Just watched this guy kick last Sunday in New England. He hit one from his own 5 yd line, that ended up on the Pats 10. After checking his stats, he had 3 punts over 70 yds. He pretty much blows the argument that punters aren’t important out of the water. On a good team, he’s worth 3-4 victories a season.

    Would trade a one for this guy. Punters last a loooong time in the NFL.

  12. Maybe punter should be added to fantasy football, and I can draft him. God knows Todd Gurley and Tavon Austin haven’t done me any good…………

  13. Please understand, I’m not a Fisher apologist, BUT this team was a total train wreck–I mean full on dumpster fire–prior to Fisher arriving. Seriously.

    Spags: 10-38;
    Linescam – 13-35

    The fact that Fish has somehow had this team flirt with .500 every year is truly remarkable. Its also hard to be believe the Rams struck out with 4 OL in one draft, but it does demonstrate they’re trying to build from within. *trying*

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