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Punters Is The Least Favorite Position In Football (And One Of The Most Important)

The punter is easily the least favorite position in football because it signifies such an offensive failure that the team is conceding points during the possession. Football in the NFL is a game of field position; yet we don't really care. When a punt takes place, it occurs right after an incomplete pass in which the quarterback misfires or the receiver runs the wrong route or the pass protection breaks down or, the most frustrating of all, when a team is unable to convert a third-and-short on the ground. Those negative impacts expose the worst emotional moments, which in turn makes punters victims because no one in their right mind is hoping to see their punter jog onto the field.

That being said, punting is as part of the game as anything. Offensive failures will happen and the results of those punts can have dramatic consequences on team's chances to win. For example having a punter that can turn the field between 60-70 yards (or more), puts the opposing offense into a position that forces them to go the length of the field to score a touchdown. In Football 101, scoring a touchdown from 80 yards out is harder than scoring from 50 yards (I wrote that chapter myself).

The Bengals drafted Kevin Huber in the fifth round of the 2009 NFL Draft to do just that. In two seasons encompassing 157 punts, Huber sports a 42.7 yards/punt (37.4 net yards per punt) average. Last season Huber averaged 42.1 yards/punt, ranked 25th in the NFL. Not fantastic by any means, but distance isn't the only measure of a punter.

No punter kicked the football longer than Huber's 72-yard punt against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, so we know he has the leg. His 28 punts inside the 20-yard line ranked 11th, so we know two things here. The Bengals offense moved the ball well enough that prevented Huber from striking massive punts. Huber is able to control his punts to limit the opposing offense's chances from starting at their own 20-yard line. In Football 101 Josh's Chapter on punting section B, scoring from 85 yards out is tougher than scoring from 80 yards.

And just as impressive, 17 punts forced returners to waive their returns (aka, fair catch which ranked second in the NFL) suggesting that while Huber's overall distance might be around average in the NFL, his hang-time is one of the best. Pft. Hang-time. Big deal. It actually is. The more hang-time there is on a punt, the chances for a return lessens.

Scout, Inc. rates Huber as the league's 11th best punter, though scoring a similar grade to Arizona's Ben Graham.

I just filled out a post with 454 words on punting.