The Eagles' 2012 season was a virus. 80% of the offensive line got hurt, as did the QB and the best skill position players. The secondary spent more time trying to figure out which one of them got burnt on a play than they did actually covering opposing receivers. The special teams units stunk. Pretty much everything went wrong, and it even extended to long snapper Jon Dorenbos.
The Eagles punted 71 times in 2012, which is actually a low number. Then again, when you turn the ball over 37 times, that will cut down on your punts.
Of those 71 punts, 15 (or 21.1%) of Dorenbos' long snaps were off target. (By "off-target," we mean anything not head-to-thigh high, or noticeably outside the punter's shoulders from side to side). Here they are, in chronological order:
2) Low and to the side
7) To the side, and a little low
11) To the side
12) Low and to the side
13) To the side, and low
14) High and to the side (this punt was blocked)
15) Low and way to the side
An off-target snap can have a ripple effect. It can throw off the punter's rhythm, he can hit a line drive, and the next thing you know you have a speedy punt returner with some room to move, and he's got a 30 yard return.
In 2012, the Eagles' punting unit was arguably the worst in the NFL. Here were some of the brutal facts:
• They led the NFL in punt return yards allowed, with 542. By comparison, the Bears punted 10 more times than the Eagles and allowed just 84 punt return yards.
• The Eagles were 31st in net punting average, at 36.9.
• They were dead last in punts inside the 20.
• They were tied for the 6th most touchbacks.
• They only downed the ball 4 times on the season, which was last in the league.
In 2013, the Eagles punting units, led by the great Donnie Jones and gunner Brandon Boykin, were monumentally improved. Credit should also go to Dorenbos, who bounced back from a bad 2012 season, and was nearly perfect last season. In 2013, the Eagles punted 81 times. By my count, Dorenbos had just 5 off target long snaps on punts, and many of them are nit-picky.
Dorenbos' 2013 off-target snaps, in chronological order:
1) Slighty high
2) To the side (this punt was blocked, but would have been blocked anyway, even with a perfect snap)
3) A little to the side
Note that there are no egregiously bad snaps above in 2013, and all the bad snaps identified are debatable. Most impressively, Dorenbos was absolutely perfect in the Snow Bowl.
In terms of the Eagles' "Comeback Player of the Year," strong consideration should go to Jon Dorenbos... you know... if that award actually existed.
OK, I might need a girlfriend.
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