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Sport Central All-Decade Team

Discussion in 'Chargers Fan Forum' started by Osmekaman, Jan 3, 2010.

  1. Osmekaman

    Osmekaman BoltTalker

    Jul 1, 2008
    • Like Like x 1
  2. TheLash

    TheLash Well-Known Member

    Aug 8, 2006
    Punter: Mike Scifres (SD)
    Second Team: Brad Maynard (NYG/CHI)
    Honorable Mention: Jeff Feagles (SEA/NYG), Brian Moorman (BUF)
    Overrated: Shane Lechler (OAK)
    Underrated: Maynard

    I know everyone else is picking Lechler. It's a lazy pick, by people who aren't paying attention. Lechler has been an above-average punter all decade, but he's not the best, and it's not close. Lechler does one thing very well: he bombs the ball downfield. He's got as big a leg as anyone. What he doesn't do well is everything else. He doesn't have a lot of hang time, he's no good at directional kicking, and he can't keep the ball out of the end zone.

    Lechler's stats, including net average, are inflated because he plays for the Raiders. Oakland seldom gets bad weather. Compare that to Chicago, New York, and Buffalo, where the kickers fight frozen footballs and gusting winds. Just as importantly, the Raiders have been terrible for most of the decade (.382). If your team goes three-and-out from the 20, you've got the whole field to work with. Someone like Scifres, whose Chargers have gone .688 during his time there, frequently punted from the opponents' territory and had to shorten his kicks to keep them out of the end zone.

    Lechler has an awful 2:1 ratio of touchbacks to punts down inside the 20. Compare that to Scifres (5:1), Maynard (4.5:1), Feagles (6:1), and Moorman (3.5:1), and it's apparent that Lechler doesn't even try to keep his kicks out of the end zone. Two-thirds of his punts come back on returns or touchbacks, compared to less than half for Scifres and Feagles. Lechler's punts were returned an average of 11.2 yards, compared to 8.7 for Scifres, who was worst among the punters of I did select. That's a huge difference, 2.5 yards per punt return.

    Scifres led all punters in net average and lowest percentage of punts returned. He didn't play the whole decade (2004-present), and I did hold that against him, but Scifres may be the highest-impact punter in the history of the league. His performance in last year's playoff game against the Colts almost single-handedly turned the game in San Diego's favor. He punted six times, and all six ended inside the Colts' 20-yard line. Five of his punts went at least 50 yards, and the other was fair-caught inside the 10. How many punters can lay claim to being the MVP of a playoff win?

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