When the Jacksonville Jaguars take on the New England Patriots in Sunday’s AFC Championship Game, Brad Nortman will be the punter. But in order to help prepare for what the Pats will offer, the Jags brought in left-footed punter Brock Miller for a workout.
Thank you @Jaguars for working me out today. Helped the returners prepare for the Patriots.
— Brock Miller (@Br0ckMiller) January 17, 2018
This is a creative training method for sure.
Like Miller, New England punter Ryan Allen is left-footed. With only 10 left-footed punters in the league, Jacksonville’s return men do not have a great deal of experience fielding punts from southpaws. That poses a challenge because, as Darin Gantt of Pro Football Talk noted, “because the ball spins in the opposite direction of a right-footed punt, it’s a bit harder for returners to field if they’re not used to it.”
It’s a good move by Doug Marrone and the Jags. It’s not an infrequent occurrence to see a team struggle with a punt against the Patriots. That can create a turnover or at least, impact the field position battle in a big way. Taking steps to avoid that is smart.
Should Jacksonville win on Sunday, Miller may get another workout, depending on what happens in the NFC Championship Game. Like Allen, Philadelphia Eagles punter Donnie Jones also kicks with his left foot.