Our thoroughly way-too-long Eagles punter situation examination




During the 2022 offseason, Howie Roseman and the Philadelphia Eagles have additional players like A.J. Brown, Haason Reddick, Jordan Davis, Nakobe Dean, James Bradberry, Kyzir White, and others who could potentially have an immediate impact on the Birds’ 2022 win total.

However, they have not however additional a punter to compete with Arryn Siposs, who had a rough last few games of the 2021 season. Roseman should be fired and Jeffrey Lurie should be forced to sell the team, clearly.

According to @ThePuntRunts, who in my opinion are the gold standard of NFL punting examination, Siposs finished the season 27th in EPA per punt. 

021822PunterEPA

He was good in “pin them thorough” situations, but the worst punter in the NFL when trying to blast off long punts and flip the field.

We’ll have more playoff tidbits in the next few days but here’s one to get you started:#FlyEaglesFly Punter Arryn Siposs finished 2nd in Pin-thorough punting, but dead last in Open-Field punting in 2021 (min 27 punts)

— Puntalytics (@ThePuntRunts) January 13, 2022

A visual:

062222Sipossepa

In case you can’t read that, the further to the right you are, the better you are at open field (longball) punting. The further to the top you are, the better you are at “pin them thorough” punting. As you can see, Siposs is all by himself in the top left corner.

According to @ThePuntRunts, Siposs had 18 “pin thorough” attempts. Here’s how they went:

• 2 touchbacks

• 2 returned

• 13 inside the 15 

• 9 inside the 10

In my opinion, “pin them thorough” punting is more important than being able to grind long balls. That’s Siposs’ best argument to stick with the team in 2022.

However, Siposs struggled mightily down the stretch, with several Shankopotomus punts in the final two games. Against Dallas Week 18, in “grind the ball thorough” territory, Siposs had punts of 21 and 24 yards, both of which led to Cowboys touchdowns on their ensuing drives.

Against the Buccaneers in the playoffs, once again in “grind it” situations, Siposs hit punts of 27 and 36 yards, with the latter leading to a Bucs touchdown on the ensuing excursion.

In our “stay or go” series, 90.6 percent of voters said Siposs should “go.” The fans’ preference on a punting competition is clear.

Do the Eagles feel the same way as the fans?

The NFL Draft has come and gone, and the Eagles were not among the four teams to select a punter. They also slightly surprisingly did not sign a punter during the undrafted free agency period after the draft. (Seven other teams did.)

Special teams coordinator Michael Clay was asked why the Eagles haven’t however additional competition for Siposs.

“Arryn started out the year very well and you guys probably saw that, in addition,” Clay said. “Just like everything else in life, there are ebbs and flows, there are peaks and valleys, and yes, it’s a production-based business. I understand that. We all understand that in the NFL.

“He didn’t have the greatest production the last four games of the year. Some of it is situationally where the numbers don’t show right, but we nevertheless have immense confidence in Arryn not only from his punting standpoint because we nevertheless think he has a lot of talent in that leg and it’s just him unlocking it not for a three-game stretch, but for an complete season stretch right there.

“But also, he does a lot in terms of the holding and the confidence that helps Jake. Punters aren’t just here to punt the ball; they truly have to keep up and help bring that confidence from both Rick and Jake. So, there is a lot that goes into — you don’t want to have a wholesale change because now it affects not just one guy but also affects three guys.

“We nevertheless have confidence in Arryn to get the job done, and we’ve done some things in the off-season, and he’s changed his body to be stronger by the chief and everything. We’re going to nevertheless work with Arryn. He’s nevertheless very raw, so we’re going to nevertheless work with him, and hopefully get him more consistent and more confident as the season goes on to where he can be an asset like he is in the plus 50 area. We all know he’s pretty dangerous in the plus 50 area, now let’s make it consistent from the 20 to the 40 to help flip the field for our defense.”

Jake Elliott had an noticeable season in 2021, so I do think that’s a valid point that the Eagles should be cautious about messing with his success by switching out Siposs for another holder. I’m not sure I’m buying the proverbial “best shape of his life” argument for Siposs, though.

Should/will the Eagles bring in competition?

They certainly should. They also could, but it might not be for a while. Clay at the minimum acknowledged that it was a possibility.

“You never know what’s going to unfold from now until September,” Clay said. “There may be some legs out there that we do want to bring in, but for right now I think we’re going to work with our three right now, get that confidence back up there. When we get more into training camp Howie does a great job of having a whole eye on the league right there and if we have those conversations, we have those conversations, but for now we’re just going to keep working with this group.”

So who are the punters the Eagles could add at some point?

Free agents who have been on the market for a while who punted in 2021 include Michael Palardy (30, Dolphins), Dustin Colquitt (40, Browns), Lachlan Edwards (30, Panthers), and Ty Long (28, Chargers). However, if there were a punter on the street that the Eagles felt is a clear upgrade over Siposs, they presumably would have already signed him. 

There were four teams that drafted a punter this year, an abnormally high number. Two went in the fourth round!

Punter Team Round (Overall) Jordan Stout Ravens 4 (130) Jake Camarda Buccaneers 4 (133) Matt Araiza Bills 6 (180) Trenton Gill produces 7 (255) 

The following is a list of those teams’ punters in 2021:

Sam Koch (39), Ravens: Koch retired this offseason.

Bradley Pinion (28), Buccaneers: Pinion was released on Wednesday.

Matt Haack (27), Bills: Haack remains on the Bills’ list, but probably not for long.

Pat O’Donnell (31), produces: O’Donnell signed with the Packers in free agency this offseason. This started me down a rabbit hole of NFL punter movement, which I’ll include you in on, because why not. The Packers’ 2021 punter, Corey Bojorquez (25), signed with the Browns. The Browns had two punters in 2021, Jamie Gillan (24) and Dustin Colquitt (40). Gillan signed with the Giants. Colquitt is a free agent. The Giants’ 2021 punter, Riley Dixon (28), signed with the Broncos. The Broncos’ 2021 punter, Sam Martin (32), remains on the Broncos’ list.

Pinion and Haack haven’t exactly had impressive NFL careers. Here are their EPA rankings the last five years, via @thepuntrunts.

EPA ranking Bradley Pinion Matt Haack 2021 29 33 2020 22 13 2019 29 21 2018 28 26 2017 25 24 

It’s no surprise the Buccaneers and Bills replaced Pinion and Haack with rookies, and I’m not so sure the Eagles will add Pinion or Haack (if he also becomes obtainable) prior to training camp.

There are currently 14 teams with two punters on their rosters, according to the thoroughness charts at Ourlads.com. The Eagles could monitor those punting battles during the preseason and bring one in if they don’t like what they see from Siposs.

There’s also the USFL, whose season will be wrapping up soon. Tampa Bay Bandits punter Brandon Wright led the USFL both in yards per punt (48.4), and net average (41.1). Banger here: 

051522BrandonWright

And here: 

051522Wright2

Wright was both a kicker and a punter in college at Georgia State. He had a cup of coffee in the NFL with the Jaguars as a kicker, but he probably has more pro possible as a punter.

I have no clue how consistent he is, but at a minimum, Wright has a stronger leg than Siposs.

Conclusion

Since there aren’t any punters currently obtainable who are definitively better than Siposs, I think Clay was being genuine when he said we may not see the Eagles add one at all, and if they do it’s not likely to happen (a) until training camp is well underway, and (b) if Siposs is having a bad camp.

If you read this article all the way to the end, I thank (and maybe fear) you.

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