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  1. #1
    r8rh8rmike's Avatar
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    Jones A Big Weapon As Punter

    Jones a big defensive weapon as punter

    BY BILL COATS
    Friday, November 19, 2010

    In 2008, the Rams' Donnie Jones earned a notable distinction, becoming only the second punter in NFL history to average 50 yards or more for a season. The first was Sammy Baugh, in 1940.

    Jones' average this season is down nearly 5 yards, at 45.3. But in some regards, he's having an even better season than he did two years ago.

    He's fourth in the league in net average (gross yards minus returns and touchbacks), at 40.5 yards. He's No. 1 in downed punts (12) and tied for first in punts placed inside the 20-yard line (22).

    Only 21 of Jones' 52 punts have been returned and just three have resulted in touchbacks, both percentages that rank among the NFL's best.

    "I look at that as a real good defensive weapon right there," coach Steve Spagnuolo said. "When you can keep the returner from actually getting the ball and returning, that's overlooked."

    Jones tossed a punter's equivalent of no-hitter Sunday in San Francisco, when he kept the dangerous Ted Ginn Jr. from returning any of his 10 boots. Five resulted in fair catches, three were downed, and two went out of bounds. Jones averaged 43.7 yards per punt and dropped three inside the 20.

    "It's more than just me. You've got to give credit to the guys on the outside going down there and forcing the fair catch," Jones said. "But overall, I felt I had a really solid game, kicked the ball well, and a good returner basically didn't do anything against us, which is huge.

    "Anytime those guys get the ball in their hands, they can hurt you."

    Jones, who is in his seventh season, has been dealing with a strained calf muscle in his left (kicking) leg since the fourth week of the season. He hasn't kicked a ball in practice since then.

    "The trainers are telling me (it takes) two to four weeks to fully heal. And I don't have that," Jones said. "So it kind of keeps reoccurring."

    An altered routine has helped keep Jones on the field.

    "I'll work on drops and stuff during practice and then kick on Sundays," he said. "If I've got to do that until the end of the year, then that's what we've got to do."

    And if his numbers at the end of the year are about where they are now, he'll consider it a good season.

    "I don't have the 50-yard average, but ... if we can force 47-yard, 48-yard fair catches, I'll take that any day," he said. "We've limited returns, we have a lot of pins inside the 20, and our net's up there. So I think it's been really solid."

    SAFFOLD RECOVERING

    The Falcons (7-2) sport the NFC's best record, and Rodger Saffold, the Rams' rookie left tackle, didn't want to miss a chance to test himself against them. So after leaving last Sunday's game in San Francisco in the second quarter with a sprained right ankle, he wasted no time initiating his recovery.

    "Even after the game, when we got back real late, I was icing my ankle," Saffold said. After practice Thursday, Saffold said, "There's always going to be some soreness. But I feel good."

    Wide receiver Danario Alexander, recovering from knee surgery, was limited but did get in some reps with the first team. Jones and defensive tackle Fred Robbins (back) also were limited.

    SUNDAY GAME ON TV

    Enough tickets were sold by Thursday's deadline to avert a local-television blackout of Sunday's game. KTVI (Channel 2) will air the game, with kickoff at 3:05 p.m.


  2. #2
    AlphaRam is offline Registered User
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    Re: Jones A Big Weapon As Punter

    Because of our poor record, Donnie doesn't get the Pro Bowl recognition that he has deserved (same for Chris Massey, the longsnapper).
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

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    r8rh8rmike's Avatar
    r8rh8rmike is offline Superbowl MVP
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    Re: Jones A Big Weapon As Punter

    Quote Originally Posted by AlphaRam View Post
    Because of our poor record, Donnie doesn't get the Pro Bowl recognition that he has deserved (same for Chris Massey, the longsnapper).
    I'm sure the Rams lack of success, as well as uninformed NFL fan voting has something to do with it, but for Jones to not be named to the Pro Bowl in 2008 after becoming only the second player IN NFL HISTORY to average 50 yards a punt, is as big a travesty of justice as you will ever see, period.

    I'm all for an All-Pro team being named (WITHOUT fickle fan voting), but IMO the Pro Bowl, which is nothing more than a popularity contest and a way for the NFL to make money, should scrapped all together.

    That said, what matters most is that the Rams are lucky enough to have the best punter in the NFL.

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    RamFan_Til_I_Die's Avatar
    RamFan_Til_I_Die is offline Registered User
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    Re: Jones A Big Weapon As Punter

    Quote Originally Posted by r8rh8rmike View Post
    I'm sure the Rams lack of success, as well as uninformed NFL fan voting has something to do with it, but for Jones to not be named to the Pro Bowl in 2008 after becoming only the second player IN NFL HISTORY to average 50 yards a punt, is as big a travesty of justice as you will ever see, period.

    I'm all for an All-Pro team being named (WITHOUT fickle fan voting), but IMO the Pro Bowl, which is nothing more than a popularity contest and a way for the NFL to make money, should scrapped all together.

    That said, what matters most is that the Rams are lucky enough to have the best punter in the NFL.
    Agreed on all counts. Last few years when we had nothing else going right, Jones got a lot of props from fans, but a few wins later you forget about the punter sadly. Field position is a huge part of the scheme Spags runs, and without Donnie, it bit harder to accomplish. It's funny to see us go 3 and out, Donnie punts it, our stops them 3 and out, they punt and we gain in field position. Would I rather us not go 3 and out? Of course, but with Donnie and a solid D, it doesn't worry me anywhere near as much as it used to.

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