In the first half of last week's loss to the Cincinnati Bengals, the Jacksonville Jaguars lined up to punt five times.
And two of those five were either blocked or partially blocked.
So, what was the problem? Was Bryan Anger taking too much time to get the ball away, or was the blocking just horrible?
The first block was officially a "tipped" punt by Bengals running back Rex Burkhead (No. 30) early in the second quarter. He lines up on the far left side of the line and went "up and under" safety Craig Loston (No. 20) assigned to block him.
According to Jaguars cornerback Will Blackmon who live-tweeted the game, it's standard in punt blocking. Blackmon said this is a play run every week and is the "quickest way to block a punt."
It's hard to see at this angle, but it looks like this is solely the blocker's fault. Anger isn't taking unnecessarily long steps in his punting motion. Loston just got beat.
The second block was a full on punt block, resulting in a safety. Bengals safety Taylor Mays (No. 26) seems to do exactly what Burkhead did on the previous play -- an "up and under" on Jaguars linebacker Telvin Smith (No. 50), except on the right side of the line.
This angle also gives a much better view of Anger's kicking motion, and it seems he could be at fault a bit here too.
When you're punting, there's three steps. The first step with his left foot isn't supposed to cover much ground at all, and then the next two steps are for handling and getting a grip on the ball (second step), and then dropping the ball for the kick (third step).
Anger takes so long to punt I'm shocked it's taken this long for stuff to get blocked— Alfie (@AlfieBCC) November 2, 2014
Partially, yes. He punts slow. Too many steps. RT @SLSJax: @AlfieBCC come on... you wanna blame Anger for that?— Alfie (@AlfieBCC) November 2, 2014
Anger takes nearly 3 steps before he kicks. Most other punters take 1-2, but I could be wrong.— Alfie (@AlfieBCC) November 3, 2014
Alfie talked about it during the game and last night, former Jaguars defensive end Jeff Lageman called Anger a three-step punter, and while punters do take three steps, the first isn't supposed to be nearly as long of a pace as Anger showed above.
Watch how Bengals punter Kevin Huber sets up and strikes the ball. He's a left-footed punter, so watch his right foot for the first small step and then how his second and third step are noticeably longer strides.
It's understandable that with bad snaps or under duress, pre-punt step patterns could look differently than the ideal. But Anger's snaps, especially on the second punt that was blocked for a safety, were perfect. Because each step increases in stride for a typical punt, making sure the first one is small is key. Anger's blocked punt saw him taking five yards on his motion, whereas Huber only took four.