ST Coordinator John Bonamego rapid repairs to LA Rams

(Photo by George Gojkovich/Getty Images)
(Photo by George Gojkovich/Getty Images) /
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LA Rams John Bonamego
(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /

What’s going on, John?

Special teams’ success is all about kicking the ball where the other team cannot set up a return, or returning the ball further than the default spot of the 25-yard line.

For the punting team, the goal is to punt the ball within the opponent’s 20-yard line, which is known as a coffin-kick.  The punting team also strives to get the longest punts with the highest hang time, the amount of time a kicked ball remains in the air. Finally, the punting team attempts to cover punts effectively by defending opponents’ attempts to return a punt for positive yards.

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For a punt return team, the most elusive goal is to block the opponent’s punt.  If the punt is away, then the punt return team’s goal is to average the most yards in returning the punt, in scoring on punt returns, and in generating the shortest net punting average – or the distance from the previous play’s line of scrimmage to the new line of scrimmage.

Just for kicks?

For the kicking team, the team measures its success in net kicking yards. Unlike a punter who can punt the ball out of bounds, a kicker must ensure the ball remains within the field of play. A touchback, kicking the ball out of the end zone or into a receiver’s arms who downs the ball in the end zone,  When that occurs, the ball is placed at the 25-yard line. While touchbacks are very good, a kicking team’s ultimate goal is to cover well enough that the opponent’s offense starts deep in their own territory.

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For the kick return team, the team measures success by the ability to secure the ball, return the ball beyond the 25-yard line, and score. Unfortunately, the success rate of a kick return team is not as effective as it had been in the past, simply because touchbacks result in a favorable placement of the ball.  But kicking teams had since adjusted and have begun to arch the ball higher, trying to land the ball on or about the five-yard line. With the right trajectory, the ball comes down just as the coverage does, and the ball is spotted behind the 25-yard line.