Friday, July 29, 2011
Why the Bucs got Michael Koenen
By Pat Yasinskas
There are lots of reasons the Tampa Bay Buccaneers agreed to terms with punter Michael Koenen.
The first is the guy was a pretty good punter for the Atlanta Falcons. But let’s look beyond the obvious because there were some other things that were extremely important in this decision. The Bucs let Connor Barth handle kickoffs last season and that wasn’t his strong suit, although he’s fine as a place-kicker.
The key here is that Koenen also is a kickoff specialist and did quite well in that role with the Falcons. In 2010, the Falcons led the league in average opponent starting field position after a kickoff (the 22.2-yard line). The Falcons also led the league in times opponents started inside the 20-yard line after a kickoff (23). On 88 kickoffs, Koenen reached the end zone 48 times, which ranked third in the league.
Koenen also has had success with kickoffs over time.
From 2005 through 2010, Koenen had 106 touchbacks. That ranks third among all kickers in that time span. Only Olindo Mare, who just signed with the Panthers and had 119 touchbacks, and Sebastian Janikowski (108) topped Koenen. He also finished third in touchback percentage (23.6) over that same time span.
Oh, one other thing: Koenen should have even more touchbacks this year. The league has moved the kickoff up 5 yards, so he should have an even easier time reaching the end zone.