Jon Ryan has been the punter for the Seattle Seahawks for a decade now, so it was probably a little unsettling for him to find out that Seattle had drafted punter Michael Dickson in the fifth round this year, even though many fans saw it coming. Ryan doesn’t care what anyone expects though, saying this week that “I am going to make you look really dumb” for believing that his time with the team was as good as over.
Ryan is definitely aware of what this means for his job going forward, describing it in a somewhat grim fashion to the Athletic:
“It’s like when you have a grandparent who is sick for like eight years...You know they’re going to die, but when they actually die, it doesn’t make it easy.”
Dickson has often been described as a “super punter.” The Aussie from the University of Texas won the Ray Guy award and unanimously won All-American honors in 2017. He forced 33 fair catches on 84 attempts and also earned himself special teams player of the year. By comparison, Ryan is coming off one of his better seasons with 29 punts inside the 20-yard line, on 92 attempts.
Dickson is ready to earn that roster spot:
But Jon Ryan knows he can still compete with the rookie:
Here’s Jon Ryan punting inside the goal line as well, if you’re into that sort of thing. pic.twitter.com/HinWL88hhY— Dugar, Michael-Shawn (@MikeDugar) June 7, 2018
Ryan insists that he’s not going to roll over and let Dickson simply have that job:
“If you let me, I’m going to compete my ass off, harder than you’ve ever seen”
One of the issues Ryan is facing is his cap hit — the Seahawks will save $2 million against the 2018 cap by releasing him. Dickson is younger, cheaper, exciting as far as punting prospects go, and Seattle’s punting DVOA has struggled to reach average over the last few years. But it’s encouraging that Ryan isn’t so quick to give in. It’s exactly the healthy competition Pete Carroll was hoping for going into the offseason.
If Ryan can hang on to his job for another season it’ll be a minor (very minor, we’re talking about punters here) miracle, but if the rookie manages to dazzle, at least Ryan can turn into a fond memory and an important piece of franchise history.