DAVIE — When the Miami Dolphins talk about how they think Matt Haack is a special talent, it’s easy to shake your head.
A special talent? He’s a punter!
But Haack unleashed all his talents with nine ridiculously good punts in Sunday’s defeat of Tennessee.
Haack boomed it. He hung it. He smashed it.
Haack (pronounced Hawk) sent the ball high and far and made a huge impact in field position.
“Kind of found my groove a little bit,” Haack said Wednesday. “We had great coverage… When you do hit it right, it is like golf. You hit the sweet spot and you look up and you know that it’s going.”
Haack sent his nine punts an average of 51 yards and the Titans returned only two for 14 yards.
That is a very, very good net average of 49 yards.
Haack was so good last week he ended up shooting up in the AFC rankings.
Haack was so good he’s now 4th in the AFC in average punt (47.4) and 5th in net punting (42.0).
Haack was so good, the Dolphins engraved his name in the giant Dolphins Special Teamer of the Week championship belt.
“Pretty sweet,” Haack said.
It’s easy to overlook punters.
But consider how they can help a team win.
Haack’s first punt was 62 yards.
And his most important punt came with just under six minutes left.
The Dolphins were leading by six and the line of scrimmage was Miami’s 37 as the team lined up to punt.
Haack boomed the punt 50 yards and it was returned only two by Adoree Jackson.
The Titans took over at their 15, which was an excellent field position exchange.
Since joining Miami as an undrafted free agent, Haack had a few disappointing punts. But as he’s gotten more relaxed and confident, he’s shown why special teams coach Darren Rizzi felt he was the best punter in this year’s rookie class.
“I try not to think too much,” Haack said. “My main focus this week was really just get back on track and hit clean, solid-contact footballs. And let my coverage team do the rest. I felt like I was lot more comfortable back there. The ball felt a lot better coming off my foot this week.”
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