You’ve heard this one before, I’ll wager. The LA Rams are not getting enough out of veteran punter Riley Dixon. While you may think I’m singling him out, I’ve no intention of putting any shade on anyone. But in the grand scheme of NFL competition, there are top performers, and then there are the bottom performers. In terms of the LA Rams punter Riley Dixon, he is currently at the bottom.
In terms of gross punting average (before returns are factored in), Dixon has punted seven times for 315 yards. That averages out to 45.0 per punt, which is only good enough for 27th place in the NFL (after three weeks). But if you factor in those punt returns, which pull down Dixon’s punting average to just 35.4 yards, Dixon is dead last in the NFL. 32nd out of 32 teams. Yikes!
On Monday Night Football, it’s just more of the same. Riley Dixon has punted four times for 229 yards, averaging 57.3 yards per punt. But the 49ers have managed to return two of those punts for 34 yards. The net of 229 less those 34 yards on returns? 195 yards.
So how does that all shake out in terms of the LA Rams’ rankings for their punting game? Well, about as you might expect, sadly. Per Footballdb.com, the LA Rams punter Riley Dixon is awfully effective at punting the football. In fact, his average gross punt gets 49.5 yards each time he connects, which is good enough for the fifth-best gross punting yards in the NFL.
Net punting yards: Riley Dixon bottom of NFL rankings
But a more accurate measure for an NFL punter is net punting yards, which takes into account fair catches, punt returns, and many other factors which affect how effective the punter actually is. So where does Riley Dixon end up when examining net punting yards? He plummets from a tie at the NFL’s fifth-place gross punter all the way down to 30th place where he only averages 39.8 net yards per punt. Why so bad? In 11 punts, six punts were returned for 66 yards or an average punt return of 11.0 yards.
Only three of his punts resulted in a fair catch. Only one punt resulted in being down. He has the only blocked punt in the NFL so far this season, one punt going out of bounds, and only two punts ending up inside the 20-yard line.
If you check Dixon’s ranking on NFL.com, you will find that his 478 net punting yards for 12 punts may be calculated in error. The site lists his net punting at 43.4 net yards per punt. But if you do the math, 478 yards over 12 punts results in 39.8 net yards per punt.
The LA Rams have a lot to fix right now. It’s a shame that they are not getting much out of their newly signed punter. Will the Rams make a change? While I think that they should, the Rams are likely too focused elsewhere to do so at the moment.