We haven’t talked a lot about punting this season — because everything else has been such a dumpster fire — but we should!
He might not be a guy that we’d prefer to see, especially as often as we have the first four games of the season, but Eagles’ punter Cameron Johnston has been one of the few bright spots since Week 1.
So far in 2020, Johnston has punted 19 times — 6 times in each of the last two games — for 980 yards, including a 62-yard long. He’s averaging 51.6 yards per punt, good for No. 2 in the league, and over half of his punts (10 of 19) have been inside the 20. That’s incredible. Plus, he’s pinned teams back by their end zone in a couple critical moments.
Special teams coordinator Dave Fipp spoke to reporters on Tuesday after the Eagles win, and was asked about Johnston and his contributions.
“Cam, I mean, I would say the same thing I always say. He really works hard at his craft, it’s really important to him. He’s a super talented player, and I think, right now, all of us are kind of seeing the fruits of his labor.
Like I said the last time, we knew he was going to be a project when he got here, and he’s just continued to make improvement, or progress, every week of every season, every offseason, every chance he’s gotten.
He’s really striking the ball really well. He is definitely super talented, and we’re really happy with what he’s doing. So, I’m happy for him, and I’m happy for what he’s been doing for us.”
Johnston set a single-season franchise record in 2018 — his first year in the league (!) — in both gross yards per punt (48.1) and net yards per punt (42.7). In 2019, he had kicked for 3,292 yards, finishing his first two seasons with the highest gross (47.2) and net (42.5) punting averages in Eagles history.
For comparison, his predecessor, Donnie “Longball” Jones, averaged between 43.8 and 47.0 yards per punt through his five seasons with the Eagles.
Johnston is currently with the Eagles on a one-year deal worth $750,000 and is set to be a restricted free agent in 2021. Given his consistency and reliability, during his 3 years with the team, they should try and keep him on a longer deal and then forget about the punter position for awhile — this team has enough other roster spots to worry about...