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Kicker Consideration, Week 2: Blair Walsh shanks a PAT, Jon Ryan continues to work too much

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Blair Walsh, Week 2
AP Photo/Elaine Thompson

Welcome back to the Week 2 edition of Kicker Consideration, perhaps the only place on the internet that gives you nothing but Seahawks kicking news.

If you’re like me, Seattle’s 12-9 win over the San Francisco 49ers probably did more to stress you out than it did to calm you down. But Seahawks football is back for real now, as we’ve seen our first quintessential close win in the rain that they should’ve won by a large margin.

Which is great, because it’s always good to have your heart attack game out of the way early.

As I overlooked him last week, I will start today with Jon Ryan. Thus far, only one punter in the league, Shane Lechler of Houston, has more punt attempts than Ryan. Seattle’s longest-tenured player is also third in total punt yards, with 584 through two games. If you’re wondering, and I assume you are because you’re reading stat nerd articles on fieldgulls.com, that’s approximately 108 yards above average for a punter who has played in two games. Keep in mind we had two teams not play Week 1. This puts Jon 1.5 standard deviations above the mean. Given that 30 punters have played in at least two games, this puts Jon in the 90th percentile for total yards punted. Also of interest, there seems to be some (very slight) correlation between the number of times a punter is kicking versus how long their punts go on average.

Punt Length vs Total Punts

Ryan’s longest punt of 59 yards puts him at 13th in the league, and his average of 44.9 yards per punt is good for 17th. If you’re interested in this and other stats, I gathered them using ProFootballFocus here. But unfortunately, the NFL doesn’t, to my knowledge, publish punting highlights so I don’t have video for you of the seven punts he kicked this last Sunday. Seriously NFL, what a missed market here!

I certainly have a lot to say about the fact that the Seahawks have kicked 13 punts over two games. But none of it has to do with the performance of Jon Ryan, so I won’t be getting into it here. Besides, there are plenty of other articles here demonstrating some of the root causes.

On to Blair Walsh.

So far only four kickers in the league have more field goal attempts, and of those only three have more field goals made. So far, Blair Walsh is perfect in the field goal category through two weeks. Of his five attempts, three of them are from the 20-29 yard range. Again, where he has been perfect so far this season. Which makes it so darn frustrating that he missed the PAT in the 4th quarter.

Let’s breakdown his kicks from Sunday. His first field goal kick from 25 yards is here. He is, as usual, kicking from the left hash mark, the wind is 9 MPH to the SSE, and he’s kicking in the rain. As you can see the snap is clean, Jon Ryan plants the ball, spins it 13 turn laces out.

The second kick, from 27 yards, is also good as you can see here. Again, left hash and straight through even in the rain. So, why did Walsh miss from 25 yards out to put the Seahawks up by four in the 4th quarter?

Every single kick that Walsh has attempted this year, except for the PAT, was from the left hash or very close to it.

Now, let’s watch the missed PAT.

Missed PAT, week 2

Blair is kicking from the right hash mark with almost no wind. But his kick hooks to the right even further. Is this because 33, Rashard Robinson, gets to the outside? Possibly. Remember last week we saw Green Bay possibly cause Walsh to hook his kick slightly left by getting outside of the edge blocker.

This could all be coincidence, this could just be statistical noise. And likely, that’s what it is. But it appears that Walsh tends to hook his kicks just slightly when facing a rushing defender, hopefully this a trend the coaching staff has already noticed and will train out of him. If they haven’t, well maybe they should read more Kicker Consideration!

Overall I think we have little to be worried about; the field goal completion percentage league wide is 88%, even if we count the missed PAT against Walsh in that category he’d be 83.3% on the year with a sample size of six. In other words, probably nothing to be worried about yet. And anyone who tells you they can predict season trends on six instances is either a genius or a fool, most likely and the latter.

Also, while not Seattle Seahawks related, check out this kick by rehabilitated and reinvigorated Matt Prater.

12 in a row from 50+ and a little bit of luck on the side? Not bad old man! We’ll call this the Kicker Consideration kick of the week winner right here.

Hope you all enjoyed, Go Hawks.