We’ll do this every Thursday during the regular season, so if you have questions that you’ve asked on other blog posts that I haven’t answered post them below and I’ll try to get to them next week. Or you can email them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
XCMAN asks: SP question for anyone or maybe for Eric to ask someone on the Hawks staff. Why oh why don’t they angle punts out of bounds anymore? They try and bounce it and down it on the 6 inch line but more often than not it ends up in the end zone. Why not just kick it out of bounds on the 3 yard line?? I remember Ray Guy doing it for years!?!?!? I just don’t get it!
Williams: First of all, great question. I asked special teams coach Bruce DeHaven about it and he provided an interesting answer.
DeHaven said about 10 or 12 years ago, a bright special teams coach in the league came up with the concept that, since you can’t return a punt when a team is kicking from midfield, to put eight guys in the box and rush off the edge into the punter’s kicking leg. So if the punter tried to step to the side to angle kick it, the punt would get blocked.
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DeHaven said punters usually need to step to the side at a sharp angle to push it to the corner, and the ball generally comes out lower when punters try to put it in the corner. So the death of the coffin corner kicks has nothing to do with the ability of punter, and everything to do with the evolution of the strategy of the game. Makes sense.
“There’s not team in the league that will let you step out,” DeHaven said. “They’ve got some big guy coming hard off the corner that’s right there in your face if you step out to try and kick it to the corner.”
DeHaven says because teams no longer allow punters to execute coffin corner kicks, punters now kick the back end of the ball to get it going end over end like a kickoff to control the kick better. DeHaven said San Diego’s punter Darren Bennett from Australia started that. So there’s you answer.
You can listen to DeHaven talk about it here.
Excile asks: Langston Walker is an accomplished run blocker. One of those hard-to-find RT’s desired by teams like the Steelers. It is my understanding that the ZBS was designed for linemen lacking in talent. It would seem that it would be much easier to adjust to a Langston Walker than say lose a Walter Jones. Interior linemen could still do their thing.
Eric – would Langston Walker fit as RT with the new Hawk o-line? I only suggest RT because if he failed at LT with Buffalo he likely wouldn’t do any better in Seattle.
Williams: After reading this quick assessment of Walker, I don’t think he would be a good fit in the zone blocking system because he’s a big guy who isn’t very athletic and doesn’t move very well. In the zone blocking system the tackles don’t have to be as mobile as the guards, but they do need to be able to move laterally to set the edge on the outside zone plays. And to do that against an athletic defensive end requires some agility. Hawks 31 asks: This might be a stupid question, but does anybody know of any practice squad players that have gone onto have successful NFL careers?
Williams: Actually, that’s a good question. And there are a lot of candidates out there, because teams generally keep players on the practice squad who they believe have the potential to be contributors in the near future with a little seasoning.
Starting with Seattle’s roster, a few who began their career on the practice squad include Quarterback Matt Hasselbeck, defensive end Colin Cole and free safety Jordan Babineaux.
The Patriots’ Tom Brady began his career in 2000 as New England’s fourth quarterback. Arizona’s Kurt Warner was allocated to NFL Europe’s Amsterdam Admirals by the St. Louis Rams before his rise in the NFL, and Pittsburgh linebacker James Harrison was an undrafted rookie out of Kent State who spent two seasons on and off the team’s practice squad before his Super Bowl heroics. Those are a few of the talented players that began their NFL careers humbly.