Unfortunately, special teams is a facet of football that often goes overlooked. When it works well, fans tend to ignore this phase of the game, but if there are major weaknesses in the unit, a squad’s season could prove disastrous and embarrassing.
Cincinnati’s special teams unit was pretty solid throughout the year, thanks in part to many late-round draft picks and Darrin Simmons’ tutelage. Which Bengals player was the MVP of the special teams group in 2017? Cast your vote and sound off on your winner!
Kicker Randy Bullock: Fans were bummed out to hear that Bullock won the job over exciting fifth-round prospect, Jake Elliott, but Bullock had a solid season in a year were points came at a premium. Though he only had 20 field goal attempts in 2017, he nailed 18 of them, good for a 90 percent success rate.
He also hit 31-of-33 extra points, and had just a 23-yard average per return on kickoffs. While the team may pursue other options again this offseason, Bullock made a strong case to keep his job with the Bengals in 2018.
Punter Kevin Huber: The veteran punter had one of his better pro seasons with the Bengals in 2017. He had a career-high in punt yardage with 4,101, as well as net yards with 3,631.
While the unit gave up a return touchdown to Jacksonville’s Jaydon Mickens, Huber also had his second-highest amount of punts downed inside the opponent’s 20-yard line with 32. He also had just three touchbacks on 88 punts and had the second-most fair catches in his career (23), both of which helped the defense immensely.
Long snapper Clark Harris: When you don’t hear a long snapper’s name within a game, that’s usually a good thing. Harris has been a steady presence since taking over for Brad St. Louis during the 2009 season and has largely gone unheralded for his work.
Not this year, though. Harris was recently named to the Pro Bowl and will be suiting up in this weekend’s contest.
Kick Returner Alex Erickson: Last year was a good one for Erickson on special teams, as he led the NFL in kickoff return yards and kickoff return yards per attempt. He didn’t quite have the same impact in 2017, but he was pretty reliable.
He had 663 kickoff return yards, along with a 20.7-yard average in that facet. On punt returns, Erickson netted 278 yards, good for 7.1 per attempt—both of which were improvements from 2016.
Defensive back Clayton Fejedelem: The second-year defensive back was one of the team’s staples on special teams—particularly in kick coverage. Fejedelem finished first on the team this past season with 12 special teams tackles.
Tight end C.J. Uzomah: While one wouldn’t expect the team’s third tight end to be on this list, he actually had a solid impact. He was second on the team in special teams tackles in 2017 with 11, just behind Fejedelem.
Who gets your vote for the Bengals 2017 Special Teams Player of the year?
This poll is closed
Kicker Randy Bullock
Punter Kevin Huber
Long snapper Clark Harris
Kick returner Alex Erickson
Defensive back Clayton Fejedelem
Tight end C.J. Uzomah