ALAMEDA – Marquette King has broken punts down into two basic categories: Tiger and Ruth.
Raiders special teams coach Bobby April created the terminology, which tells King exactly what to do.
Some times King needs to act like Tiger Woods, deliver an accurate shot that drops drops inside the 20. Other times he needs to be like Babe Ruth and hit a towering home run.
King has the big swing down. It’s the accurate punts that have escaped him. King is tied for worst with six touchbacks in as many games. Only two punters has fewer than his five punts downed inside the 20.
Tiger would not be proud.
“Sometimes the coverage has to help him and other times he has to help the coverage,” April said. “We’ll get better at it. I know Marquette will work hard until he does.”
King put it all together against Kansas City. He had eight punts for a net 45.3-yard average and put a beautiful punt inside the 20 that King took pride in.
“That’s what I want to work on,” King said. “I really want to work on spin and direction and accuracy and I want to be able to do it all under pressure. That’s what good punters do.”
April’s goal is to match hang time, distance and the speed of his coverage personnel to minimize return yardage.
That’s a work in progress, which involves King focusing on more than just distance, even when a Ruth is called.
“He could always drive it a long way. He has a natural talent to do that,” April said. “He’s continuing to work on his plus-50 game and his hang time. He needs to get a solid hang-time-distance ratio to allow our coverage team to go get it and close the net on guys.”
Although it hasn’t been perfected, King’s punts have been effective. He’s averaging 42 net yards per punt – which ranks No. 7 in the league – which is particularly impressive despite the touchback volume on King’s ledger.
King will keep working with his coverage unit to perfect this art and to get them a chance to down punts as close to the goal line as possible.
“I feel like I can do better,” King said. “I feel like better performances are coming because I’m getting comfortable and I’m getting more comfortable with what I’m doing.”