Explaining Kickoff Coverage: The Importance of Safeties

Chuck Zodda enjoys candlelit return blocks, long runbacks on punts, and the sweet smell of gunners making tackles. When not busy romanticizing the virtues of punters as multi-talented players, he spends his time on the oft-overlooked aspects of special teams. Kickoff coverage units seem relatively straightforward to build: Find 10 men with little regard for…

Super Bowl XLIX Recap: Jon Ryan vs Julian Edelman, Part 2

In Part 1, Chuck Zodda broke down the first half of Super Bowl XLIX and the special teams battle pitting Jon Ryan vs Julian Edelman. After being captivated by Katy Perry’s halftime extravaganza, Chuck went back to the film room to examine whether the Seattle Seahawks punt unit could once again stop Edelman and the…

Super Bowl XLIX Recap: Jon Ryan vs Julian Edelman, Part 1

The Seattle Seahawks and New England Patriots both feature talented special teams performers. In the wake of Super Bowl XLIX, Chuck Zodda revisits concepts from his special teams previews, and looks at the battle between punter and returner — Jon Ryan vs Julian Edelman — that ensued in Arizona. You may now resume regular breathing.…

Super Bowl XLIX Preview: Diagnosing Steven Hauschka

It’s Super Bowl week, and all the focus is on the big game. Whether offense, defense, or special teams, Inside The Pylon has you covered. Seattle Seahawks kicker Steven Hauschka has emerged as a question mark heading into the postseason after outstanding seasons in 2012 and 2013. Special teams expert Chuck Zodda breaks down the reasons…

The Jon Ryan Punting Experience – Return Creativity (Part 2)

The New England Patriots have shredded two of the best punt coverage units in the NFL in back-to-back weeks, making the Baltimore Ravens and the Indianapolis Colts look pedestrian. Now, as they take on the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XLIX, an array of dazzling returns and special teams superstars could be poised to make a difference.…

The Jon Ryan Punting Experience – Consistency (Part 1)

Jon Ryan made a name for himself during the NFC Championship Game, proving that punters can be quarterbacks when called upon. Now, he faces a skilled New England Patriots squad that features a dynamic returner, exceptional blockers, and a varied scheme that has baffled two of the league’s best punters in New England’s most recent…

2015 NFL Playoffs: Panthers at Seahawks Special Teams Preview

The Panthers at Seahawks special teams preview looks at the kickoff and punt coverage units, the return teams, plus the kickers and the punters for both teams. Connoisseurs of fine special teams skill, prepare to be disappointed. The Carolina Panthers managed to escape from the wreckage of one of the greatest special teams railroad catastrophes…

2015 NFL Wild Card Special Teams Previews

Most of the focus leading up to the  NFL Wild Card Weekend games typically lands on the offense and defense, but special teams plays can often makes the difference in the NFL Playoffs – the New England Patriots with last-second field goals, the New Orleans Saints recovering a surprise onside kick, the Green Bay Packers returning a kickoff…

Excellence in Return Blocking: Chiefs Josh Martin

For every great return, there are many great blocks. Eleven players working together in orchestrated chaos, punt return blockers are only recognized when they get penalized for blocking in the back. Not on Chuck Zodda‘s watch. Here is how one extraordinary individual effort earned Kansas City Chiefs Josh Martin the coveted title of Special Teams…

Grambling State Returner Domino Sprints Thru Southern

There are some kickoff returns that seem to take an eternity to develop: cuts followed by jukes followed by broken tackles followed by jump stops followed by stiff-arms followed by an eventual touchdown. But sometimes, when the blocking is just right, the returner just needs to run straight ahead. Facing the Southern University Jaguars in…

Florida State’s Special Teams Disaster Part 2: The Fake Punt

Special teams often do strange things, and so much can go wrong even on routine sequences. Stupid decisions on trick plays certainly don’t help. The Florida State Seminoles defeated the Florida Gators on Saturday despite several special teams gaffs. In Part 2 of this two-part ST disasterpiece, Chuck Zodda turns to their insipid fake punt.…