Tennessee Titans rookie punter Ryan Stonehouse is blasting his way up the punting charts this season with some stellar kicks and is joining the ranks as an elite talent in a golden generation of punters around the league.
Coming into Week 3 of the NFL season, Ryan Stonehouse, the rookie punter from Colorado State, led the NFL in average punt yards with 56.3 yards per punt. He is now leading by a full 1.4 more and is now sitting on 57.07 yards per punt.
That is an absurd number. One way to conceptualize it for all the non-punters out there is that it would be like if Derrick Henry was averaging 15 yards per carry for the Tennessee Titans 3 games into the season.
Every yard counts in the NFL, field position can be life or death to an opposing offense and especially for a defense built around a “bend, don’t break” mentality like the Tennessee Titans are.
Now, while it is improbable that Stonehouse’s number stay that high (but it is possible), the avg for the league’s best punters in a season end around 50 yards per punt.
Stonehouse has shown no reason for us to think he will be slowing down anytime soon already with multiple 70+ yard bombs punted. Pardon the slight tangent here, but what a piece of television production malpractice that punters and kickers do not have more perspective-based punting camera angles.
We deserve an angle of punts that better represents the flight of the ball. Many punters around the league, but especially Ryan Stonehouse, are ripping these balls into the heavens right now.
What many people who have never kicked a football don’t see is the nuance of the spin of the ball or the trajectory of the kick, people can’t see what kind of wicked movement these balls have and just how advanced the kicking has become in this league. Which is a shame because I am sure we have the technology to make punts more TV-friendly.
Punters have played a really large role in the overall momentum of games this season and in interesting ways too (Butt Punt anyone?).
Most of the prime-time games have had huge contributions from the punters, for example, the Sunday Night Football punting bonanza between the San Francisco 49ers and the Denver Broncos. In a low-scoring game like that, field position is a constant tug-of-war and every yard makes the job easier for one team and harder for the opponent.
Stonehouse is already affecting games like this. His punt to flip the field before the last Raiders possession put just enough distance between Las Vegas and the end zone to prevent the Tennessee Titans from squandering their great first-half.
And Stonehouse has lots of room to grow as well. What’s clear is punters are playing a huge role for their teams so far this season, so keep an eye out for how Ryan Stonehouse continues to put the Tennessee Titan’s defense in the best position to beat opposing offenses.
We know he has a cannon for a leg. His next step is to start to take on the precision accuracy that Brett Kern was revered for. That is the hardest thing to master as a punter but it is what will take Stonehouse to the next level.