Hang Time Hero: Texans Sign a Pin-Down Punter
Call me crazy, but it may be that a punter -- yes, a punter -- ranks among the best offseason additions in the NFL this off-season.
Now, while Reed is a sure-fire Hall of Famer and will definitely help the defense, Lechler may be the best strategic weapon for the Texans this coming season. When the offense stalls at 40 yard line or somewhere near there, Lechler will shine by pinning opposing teams inside their 10. That's where a defense that now features J.J. Watt, Brian Cushing, Johnathan Joseph, Ed Reed, and a cast of capables will be unleashed.
Lechler is the 12th man on the Texans' defense.
Of course, this perception flies in the face of emerging studies providing data that teams would be better served by going for it more often on fourth downs. However, in spite of increasing evidence for aggressive decisions, the NFL is just as button-down as the corporate world, if not more so.
The concept of a long field is based on the calculation that the more consecutive series it takes a team score, the chances of failure in one of those series favors the defense. And as long as that philosophy is in vogue, punting talents like Lechler will find lucrative markets for their services.
Unlike Lechler, though, most of those transactions will go unnoticed.