Fields Still Has A Leg Up On Competition

Posted Oct 15, 2013

Dolphins punter is looking even better than 2012 career season.

Somehow, despite leading the National Football League last year with an average of 50.2 yards per punt, Miami Dolphins punter Brandon Fields was not selected to the Pro Bowl. He’s aiming to set the record straight in 2013.

Through six weeks, Fields sits alone atop the leader board among all punters with a gross average of 50.6 yards and his net average of 44.0 is also the best. This is his seventh season with the Dolphins and he is far and away the best punter in team history with the highest career gross average (46.4) and three of the top four single-season gross averages and single-game gross averages.

“He’s kicking the ball very well. I think the last game he had an excellent game,” said Head Coach Joe Philbin, who watched Fields average 52.5 yards on eight punts with a long of 62 against the Baltimore Ravens on October 6th. “As we’ve said many times he approaches his job very seriously, very detailed in everything he does. He’s having a good year.”

Fields is one of just six punters in league history to average 50 or more yards for an entire season, joining only Shane Lechler (twice), Sammy Baugh, Andy Lee, Thomas Morstead and Donnie Jones. He goes about his job quietly and professionally, realizing his importance when it comes to flipping the field and putting the defense in the best position.

John Denney has been Fields’ long snapper ever since he first put on a Dolphins uniform as a rookie seventh-round draft pick in 2007. The two of them form the best punting battery in the NFL and Fields believes he’s hitting the ball similar to how he hit it last year, acknowledging that he’s still trying to improve and has gotten better thanks to Denney.

“I’ve never once gone out on the field in my mind thinking, ‘Okay, where’s the snap going to be?’ because I know where it’s going to be at,” Fields said. “So it’s just something that I don’t have to worry about and I can just concentrate on what I need to do.”

What has separated Fields from the rest of his competitors is the fact that he not only has a super strong leg capable of launching punts as far as 70 yards, but he also has the touch of a golfer using his lob wedge when on a short field trying to land the punt inside the 20. He has shown the ability to kick it high enough to force a fair catch and low enough on a bounce to help create a turnover.

Back in Week 3 in the home opener against the Atlanta Falcons, with Miami trailing 20-13 late in the third quarter, Fields kicked a 53-yard punt that Falcons punt returner Harry Douglas opted to field on a bounce. Rookie safety Don Jones drilled Douglas immediately and jarred the ball loose, forcing a fumble that was recovered by Denney at the Atlanta 19. The offense got in the end zone three plays later and the Dolphins went on to win the game, 27-23.

“They’re all important,” said Fields of the different types of punts he has kicked. “Just the fact that you only get a select few per game and each one can potentially hurt you or help you depending on the outcome. It’s the same with a turnover or a big play in the game. It all affects the game in one way or the other. So whether it’s the first punt on the first series or it’s the last punt with two minutes left to go in the game, it’s just as important and still affects the game.”

At this rate, if Fields continues to affect games the way he has and does not earn a trip to Hawaii, a recount should be in order.

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