When the Jacksonville Jaguars selected Bryan Anger with the 70th pick of the 2012 NFL Draft, Rich Eisen coined a phrase that changed all of our lives for the better.
Punting is a serious element to a football game. It falls under the umbrella of one third of the game’s primary phases: offense, defense, and special teams. What makes the latter special isn’t its title, it’s the finesse involved in its artistry.
There’s a lot of art involved in kicking a football. The Dallas Cowboys are fortunate enough to boast one of the NFL’s premiere booters in Dan Bailey, the Greatest #5 in Dallas Cowboys History in my assessment, but what about the other Cowboy boot that puts some toes on the ball?
PurplePTSD.com put out an article over the weekend that made me go back so fast I almost moonwalked. The way it made me feel was like I wanted to be startin’ somethin’, an appreciation for Chris Jones!
The premise for this article is to understand exactly how to evaluate punting in the NFL. It’s a fantastic breakdown and I highly encourage you to read it. Going simply off of total yards or net yards are misleading indicators of success in punting which is where PurplePTSD’s analysis comes in.
Through some hand-dandy math they determined that Chris Jones averaged 47.5 Adjusted Net Yards/Punt (the breakdown of math in that metric is available in the post). That makes him 22nd in the NFL and is a half yard shy of the league average. What does this mean?
When Chris Jones lines up on fourth down with the objective of booming it downfield, he doesn’t do as well as the rest of the legs in the league. 47.5 yards is still a pretty decent chunk of yardage (that’s like what, 37 Kellen Moore throws?), but ultimately he’s not that good at kicking the molasses out of a football.
Where Chris Jones shines is the realm Dan Bailey dominates – precision. PurplePTSD came up with another metric called Field Percentage Gained which aims to address exactly where the punter is placing the ball relative to where they are on the field. For example, if you’re on your own 40 you have 60 yards to work with before the goal line… you want to put the ball as close as possible to it.
Chris Jones’ FPG is 75.34%. Say Romo, more like Cassel, and Co. stall at midfield. Chris Jones can come out and cover 38 yards, pinning the opponent on their 12-yard line. Say it with me – wow!
In terms of FPG he ranks in the Top 10 at what the kids are calling a Romo, Number Nine. That’s some exquisite precision coming off that golden left foot. Slap it next to Dan Bailey’s right and we could really dance, couldn’t we?
What we can discern from Chris Jones’ stark differences in these two respects is that when it comes to pure distance he’s not that great, but he’s concise and stealth-like with his precision. He’s like Arrya from Game Of Thrones. Talk about stark differences!
The Cowboys netted Chris Jones in the same UDFA class that Dan Bailey came from. He’s not regarded in the same breath of greatness as Bailey, but perhaps he needs to be. Considering the high-quality production Dallas is getting from him (while paying him almost average punter money) we need to be less sad when fourth downs appear. He’s got them under control.
Special thanks again to www.PurplePTSD.com for the interesting analysis and evaluation on the players that are, without a doubt, people too.