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All-decade special teams

Discussion in 'American Football' started by Johnny Lightning, Jun 26, 2009.

  1. Johnny Lightning

    Johnny Lightning Go Bolts

    Feb 7, 2006

    June 26, 2009 11:00 AM
    Posted by ESPN.com's Kevin Seifert

    ESPN.com continues our all-decade team rollout by taking a look at special teams, the oft-overlooked third wheel of NFL competition.

    Culling candidates was a challenge considering the players' nuanced job descriptions and the relative lack of public attention paid to their performances.

    To create this list, ESPN.com spoke with coaches who have special-teams backgrounds -- including Baltimore's John Harbaugh and Tennessee's Jeff Fisher -- as well as players with special-teams backgrounds.
    Without further discussion, here is the team:

    Punter, Mike Scifres: There are punters who kick the ball farther than Scifres. Some of them kick it higher. But none of them manage to put opponents in bad positions more often than Scifres, who has been the NFL's top directional punter since he became the Chargers' primary punter in 2004

    Over that period, Scifres has produced:
    • The league's highest net average (39.1).
    • The highest percentage of punts downed inside the 20 (42.2)
    • The lowest percentage of punts returned (37.5).
    Those aren't the numbers that Pro Bowl voters typically consider, and as a result Scifres has never made it to Hawaii. (Oakland's Shane Lechler, with a 46.8-yard gross average in his career, has made four appearances.) But knowledgeable people inside the game point to Scifres' playoff performance against Indianapolis last season to illustrate his value. Scifres pinned the Colts' talented offense inside the 20 six times -- including three times inside the 10 -- in the Chargers' upset victory.

    Opposing punters marvel at his accuracy, especially his ability to make a ball bounce backward to ensure it doesn't roll into the end zone. Not only is an opponent pinned, but its punt returner has been denied a chance to make a big play.

    "It might look nice when you drill a ball 60 yards," Minnesota punter Chris Kluwe said. "But you really help your team the most when you can put [opposing offenses] in bad spots. That's what he's done better than anyone for a long time."

    Long-snapper, David Binn: How good is Binn? Put it this way: San Diego hasn't felt compelled to replace him for the past decade ... and a half.
    That's right. Binn has handled the Chargers' long-snapping duties since 1994. He's missed only one game in his career, in 1998, and as a result has made every snap in every Chargers game since then. That alone makes Binn the NFL's top long-snapper of the decade.

    Binn has also earned the rarest of honors for a long-snapper: He made the Pro Bowl after the 2006 season, having earned a spot as a "need" player. Binn signed a four-year contract extension last year, meaning he likely will be long-snapping well into the next decade.

    It's hard to quantify the performance of a long-snapper, but consider it this way: Binn's performance has led to four different Pro Bowl berths for his kickers. Chargers punter Darren Bennett made it in 1996 and 2001. Meanwhile, kicker John Carney was a Pro Bowler in 1995 and Nate Kaeding made it in 2006 season.

  2. TheLash

    TheLash Well-Known Member

    Aug 8, 2006
    Like I always say:

    • Like Like x 1
  3. Kwak

    Kwak ....

    May 25, 2006
    More Pub will get him more votes in the future.

    I have never seen a punter do what he did in that Indy game. He was living in another dimension.
  4. Alpenbolt

    Alpenbolt BoltTalker

    Sep 9, 2006
    Love, love, love that Scifres guy. He actually makes me look forward to 4th downs.
  5. Rainman

    Rainman BoltTalker

    Sep 4, 2006
    Another Charger deserving All-Decade Special Teams props is Kassim Osgood. He's THIS generation's Steve Tasker. :tup:

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