- Dan Graziano, ESPN Staff Writer
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One of my favorite Twitter follows is Mark Simon of the ESPN Stats & Information Group (@msimonespn), because I'm a baseball junkie and Mark is a font of baseball Twitter knowledge. So I enjoyed getting an e-mail late Sunday from Mark about a new side project he started this year called "Punter of the Day." Mark has taken it upon himself to honor punters, who he considers the underappreciated "middle relievers of the NFL," and this week's winner was the Washington Redskins' Sav Rocca. From Mark:
The 37-year-old Rocca averaged 45.9 yards on 7 punts in a 17-10 Redskins win over the Rams. Rocca had 3 punts land inside the 20. The Rams attempted to return 4 punts, but netted only 1 total return yard for the game.
Rocca is the first punter since Donnie Jones and Jon Ryan in 2009 to punt at least 7 times in a game, average at least 45 yards per punt, and yield 1 or fewer total punt return yards.
Rocca had a clutch punt from his own 9-yard line with 3:34 remaining and the Redskins up 7. His 63-yard punt was downed by the Redskins at the Rams 28. The Redskins defense would hang on for the win.
I consider this validation, of course, since we here at the NFC East blog know that Rocca is having a stellar year for the Redskins. He's had a stranglehold since Week 1 on the punter's spot on the NFC East All-Division Team (the next edition of which comes out Wednesday), and he's really excelled at dropping punts inside the 20. He's done it 12 times so far this year. The Bengals have the second-most punts inside the 20 with nine. Only 10 of Rocca's 21 punts have been returned, for a very low average of 6.8 yards per return, and seven have been fair-caught. The former Eagles punter has been a great pickup for the Redskins, who have done a lot of little things well en route to their 3-1 record, and thanks to Mark Simon, he can now add "Punter of the Day" to his trophy shelf.