We are feeling the special teams love today for the Titans.
Terry wrote an excellent piece earlier today regarding the impact we’ve already seen on special teams from the free agent acquisitions and especially 1st-round pick Adoree Jackson.
I want to highlight another important special teams player: Brett Kern.
Kern has been the Titans punter since he was claimed off waivers from the Denver Broncos six games into the 2009 season, his second year in the league.
Against the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday, Kern had what some are calling a career day.
Mularkey says special teams coach Steve Hoffman said of @brettkern6: "Probably the best game he's seen a punter have in his career" #Titans— 94.9 Game 2 (@949Game2) September 25, 2017
From Jim Wyatt’s recap of the Titans game on titansonline.com:
Punter Brett Kern averaged a whopping 56.8 yards on six punts, with a 48.2-yard net. His first two punts went for 66 and 62 yards.
Now, we’ll recap Kern’s outstanding performance in glorious GIF fashion...
As Jim Wyatt mentioned, Kern’s first punt traveled a remarkable 66 yards. Usually you want to keep these out of the end zone, but if Kern had kicked it much shorter it was likely going to be returned beyond the 20-yard line.
Kern’s second punt was a 62-yarder and very nearly a perfect coffin corner pin. Seahawks receiver and returner Tyler Lockett fielded the ball at the 2-yard line, keeping it in bounds. Darren Bates (#53) came in at the end to put a huge hit on Lockett.
The third punt didn’t travel quite as far, but Kern still managed to boot it nearly 50 yards (49), and this time he kept it out of bounds to prevent any chance of a return from Lockett.
Kern’s fourth punt, which came on the Titans’ fourth possession, was his third punt over 60 yards on the day. He sent the ball from the Titans’ own 23-yard line down to the Seahawks’ 16.
After an illegal block above the waist penalty, the Seahawks started their 4th drive at their own 19-yard line despite forcing the Titans into a 4th straight three-and-out.
Kern’s fifth punt came right before the half. Another boomer, this one pinned the Seahawks inside the 20. Kern again angled the punt just out of bounds to allow for no return.
The Titans didn’t punt again until the clock showed just over five minutes remaining in the game, as the team scored on 5 straight possessions for the second week in a row (only three touchdowns this time though).
Kern’s final punt was a 55-yard skyward projectile that traveled from the Titans’ 26-yard line (that was the line of scrimmage, so closer to the Titans’ 16) all the way to the Seahawks’ 19-yard line.
Overall, the Titans won the field position battle in this game, as their average drive started at their own 27.8-yard line. Meanwhile, the Seahawks averaged a drive start at their own 23.3-yard line.
Kern’s final tally for the day included four punts at or inside the 20-yard line, with three over 60 yards and 4 over 50 (plus a 49-yarder that landed out of bounds).
Kern also happens to be the field goal holder for the Titans’ unit. Kicker Ryan Succop has made 45 straight field goals from inside 50 yards. At least some credit for that goes to Kern’s ability to catch the snap and put it down clean consistently.
Some interesting news came out today from the Titans HQ...
Titans tried out punters Taylor Symmank and Austin Rehkow today, according to sources— Aaron Wilson (@AaronWilson_NFL) September 26, 2017
Let’s hope this is for practice purposes only and that Kern is okay. We’ll need him going forward if the Titans are to continue wearing teams down, as a large part of that grind-it-out strategy involves avoiding short fields for the opponent.
While many special teams players contributed to the Titans’ victory on Sunday, Kern gets my vote for Special Teams MVP of Week 3 for Tennessee.