EAST RUTHERFORD NJ - NOVEMBER 25: Punter Steve Weatherford #9 of the New York Jets watches the game against the Cincinnati Bengals at New Meadowlands Stadium on November 25 2010 in East Rutherford New Jersey. The Jets defeated the Bengal 26-10. (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)
Steve Weatherford had never been spectacular as a punter before 2010. He had an average leg. Something seemed to click this season, though. His 42.3 average belied his ability to pin opponents inside the 20 yard line. He did that 42 times this past year, tied for an NFL record. Did this only come as a result of the offense giving him a ton of chances? His 4.4% touchback rate indicates this was not the case.
What should we make of this? The performance of punters fluctuates from year to year. Mike Tannenbaum once joked after Ben Graham's excellent rookie year that he would not trade the punter for any player in the league. He cut Graham during the season just over a year later.
Weatherford also had a miserable postseason. He had most touchbacks in the Playoffs than in the regular season. Even when he did pin opponents deep, he often could have pinned them deeper with a better kick.
It is possible at 28 that Weatherford has learned how to hit balls with the right kind of spin. This also could be an out of whack lucky year.