Friday, January 6, 2012
On the Titans' special teams
By Paul Kuharsky
Mark Simon of ESPN Stats & Information puts in solid time tracking punters, and he named the Titans' Brett Kern his punter of the day for his work against the Texans in Houston.
A new NFL single-season record for gross punting yards was set Sunday, and Kern did his part: He averaged 47.7 gross yards and 45.8 net yards, with four of his six punts were downed inside the 20-yard line.
Kern had two giant fourth-quarter punts when the game was tied -- a 48-yarder to the Texans’ 13-yard line and a 52-yarder to the Texans’ 5.
Kern averaged a career-best 39.4 yards in his fourth season. He came on strong at the end of the season, posting a net average of 45.0 or better in three of his last five games.
His inside-the-20/touchback ratio was a superb 18:1 over the last seven games of the season. It was 13:6 in first nine games.
Kern tweeted Monday morning about a franchise-best: “Woke this morn to find out we broke the franchise record for net punting!! Team accomplishment that shows the pride they take in their jobs”
While he and place-kicker Rob Bironas had fine seasons, the Titans' special teams were a constant source of disappointment in the discipline department for Mike Munchak is his first season as head coach.
While the Raiders set penalty records, it was the Titans who drew the most flags on special teams, as you can see in the accompanying charts.
Twenty-nine penalties for 269 yards -- those are ridiculous numbers.
Special teams are always loaded with backups and young players, and the Titans clearly didn’t teach their backups and young players well enough about how not to get called for blocks in the back and a variety of other stuff.
It has to be a major point of emphasis going forward.