Category Archives: Punting

Of Terrell Suggs and the Browns punter

In the past 24 hours, the Browns claimed a punter on waivers from Jacksonville and news broke that Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs evidently tore his Achilles tendon.

On this one day, this single day, the Browns won over the Ravens.

Suggs’ injury will have a serious effect on the Ravens, except that they somehow managed to land Courtney Upshaw in the second round of the draft.

Upshaw will not be Suggs, but he at least gives the Ravens some feeling of comfort.

That being said, Suggs is the reigning Defensive Player of the Year. So his loss will be significant.

Or will it? Someone I know well who is very close to the Ravens told me once to check out the games when Suggs gets his sacks. He loads up against bad teams, but doesn’t’ get many against good ones.

Let’s check the 2011 record then, when Suggs had a personal best 14 sacks (as I check I honestly do not know if the portrayal is accurate or just chatter).

Suggs had a three-sack game against Pittsburgh when the Ravens knocked the snot out of the Steelers in the opener. He had three against San Francisco on Thanksgiving night. He had three against the woeful Colts. So two of his three multi-sack games were against good teams.

Those three games accounted for almost two-thirds (64 percent) of his sacks.

He had no-sack games against Tennessee (nine wins), the Jets (eight), Houston (10), Pittsburgh in game two (12), Seattle (seven), Cincinnati (nine) and San Diego (eight).

What does that mean? I have no idea, to be frank.

It basically means that Suggs is one heck of a player that every team in the division would love on their defense. I mean, the guy has sacked Ben Roethlisberger 15 1/2 times. And named him the seventh best player in the league.

Whether the Browns closed the gap on the division winners thanks to the addition of a second punter is debatable. Suggs really is that good.

However, the Browns claim of Spencer Lanning from Jacksonville does bring to mind the good old days when Butch Davis added Derrick Frost to the roster during a season when he had Chris Gardocki.

A team, as we all know, can never have enough punters.

The shame is Lanning’s addition removes Colt McCoy’s chance to revive his career as a punter.

However, if there is a time for two punters it’s now, when Reggie Hodges is coming off an Achilles tendon tear (a la Suggs) and when the Browns really don’t know the identity of their punter.

The offseason gives the Browns a chance to look at both and keep the best.

But I wonder: When do the Browns get the first question about if and when Hodges will be traded?

Goodbye Forever, Dave Zastudil

It seems just like yesterday that “The Z” was turning stalled and futile Cleveland Browns offensive series into works of punt placement art. The man – a local product from Bay Village and Ohio University no less! – seemed to have an uncanny ability to kick a ball such that it would bounce straight up after 40-50 yards in the air.

Zastudil’s freakish talent repeatedly allowed Josh Cribbs and Mike Adams, flying down the field like torpedoes, to down yet another punt inside the ten-yard line. With the opponent having to go 90 yards in order to score a touchdown, Zastudil was a key component in the Browns ability to give their offense a rest before another exhausting three-and-out.

But he’s not ours anymore. While the Browns are now bringing in potential punters to Berea ahead of the draft, the Arizona Cardinals are locking up the services of this punting phenom. Here’s a press release from the desert:

The Arizona Cardinals Football Club today announced that the team has agreed to terms on a two-year contract with punter DAVE ZASTUDIL (ZAS-tuh-dil). In accordance with club policy, terms were not disclosed. Zastudil (6-3, 220) re-joins the Cardinals after punting 87 times for a career-high 3,929 yards (45.2 yard avg., 37.5 net avg.) in 15 games last season. Playing in his 10th NFL season, Zastudil downed 24 punts inside the 20 yard line with 21 of those coming in the final 11 games of the season. He joined the Cardinals last August as a free agent after playing with the Cleveland Browns for five seasons. After originally entering the league with Baltimore as a fourth round pick (112th overall) in the 2002 NFL Draft out of Ohio, Zastudil spent his first four years in the league with the Ravens before signing with the Browns as a free agent in 2006. For his NFL career, Zastudil has played in 128 games and punted 668 times for 28,754 yards (43.0 yard avg.) with 203 punts landing inside the opponent’s 20-yard line.

(Emphasis mine).

Dave Zastudil may not be the punter we have, but he’s the punter we deserve.