I spoke with special teams coach Bruce DeHaven yesterday about punter Ryan Plackemeier. DeHaven said even though his numbers are down, 2.2 yards per punt, he said he thinks Plack is having a good year, and that his numbers are skewed immediately because two punts earlier in the year were tipped, which were not his fault. Also, he is among the league leaders in putting the ball inside the 20, which skews the numbers even further. (From a coaching perspective, DeHaven said he doesn’t like to look at gross punting yards. He would rather have a guy punt 40 yards with a long hang time rather than 55 yards with no hang time because the net punting is probably going to be better because of coverage.) Interestingly, DeHaven said he thinks that young punters generally show marked improvement in the second half of their second seasons, which is where Plackemeier currently is. The first year, DeHaven said, rookies are just trying to figure out how to get the punts off without getting blocked. Midway through the second season is when they should start feeling comfortable. DeHaven said he didn’t feel like Plackemeier has had any booming games, but he thinks he has been pretty good overall.
This was Mike Holmgren on Plackemeier: “I hope he remembers his season. He got a concussion on Sunday. Tried to make a tackle, which is a dangerous thing. Got hit by his own guy. I don’t know what that means, exactly. Told Ryan, ‘Gee, start taking these guys out for dinner, or something. Your own guy gets you.’ He is a very talented guy. And I think, I think he’s grown up a lot this year. If you talk to him, and you have, he’s a very nice young guy. And sometimes that locker room can get rough _ wow. And the real, real nice guys sometimes don’t know what’s happening down there. He has grown up a lot. He has punted the ball real well. And he has done a great job holding, actually. If you’re really watching, sometimes it’s a great adventure when we kick a field goal. He gets the ball down. I’m very pleased with how he’s growing up. I guess that’s the best way to put it.”