Friday, April 20, 2007

What To Make Of Todd Sauerbrun?

Yeah, yeah. Punter signs with old team after current team botches matching rights paperwork, blah, blah, boring. Bear with me for a minute, though. It's really not so much about Todd Sauerbrun so much as the way he flies under the radar in terms of scrutiny over his prior suspension for use of ephedra, banned by the NFL after Korey Stringer's death.

As far as the errata in the contract, it's kind of surprising to see the Patriots botch one by something so simple as not putting the match offer clause on a separate page. However, the extent to which it was actually necessary to shell out to keep him wouldn't be that much. Punters and kickers don't grow on trees, but they have long shelf lives -- finding a replacement isn't as hard as you'd think as far as punting goes. Field goal kicking -- well, that's another matter. Bill Parcells' career is littered with examples of bad FG kicking -- both in favor of and against the team he's coaching.

If you'll remember, Sauerbrun was part of the investigation of several Carolina Panther players accused of juicing -- while he never was caught or charged on that one, he was suspended for four games last season over that ephedra incident, and it wound up costing him his job in Denver, as he was cut and replaced by Paul Ernster for kickoffs and punts.

Sauerbrun was able to fly under the radar on the fallout, what little actually turned out to be there, because of his position and the perceived nature of it (kickers unathletic, can show up pudgy, etc. Broncos coach Mike Shanahan is even guilty of this, claiming the punter is the one player on the team who can show up fat and he won't care.) Now, the attitude towards roids in football isn't as fucked up as the one baseball has with itself and the recent era, and that's because football these days is not a sport that rides its history very hard, and when you are top dog in the U.S. sporting landscape, you don't have to lean on your past.

If Sauerbrun had been a skill player on the offense or defense, someone would have two shits about his ephedra use. Ask around now and everyone will likely say "Todd who?" We believe most of the offensive and defensive lines are loading up -- they don't make men that big in nature, or so we think; skill positions are the main ones that concern us, the exception being Shawne Merriman, whose sheer dominance made him a star. Kicking deeper downfield and higher in the air for field position isn't high on the concern of abilities that can be improved, neither are attempts ot emergency weight loss.

Sauerbrun's pressures are no different, though, expressing concern about his weight all the time, and saying he had been fined by the Panthers for eating. No matter how good you are at your job, that may lead you to take some measures you would usually be more careful about. He's lucky no one really gives a crap about the punter unless it's fourth down and they're trying to back the opponents into the corner.

1 comment:

Hercules Rockefeller said...

Where's Mike Horan when you need him?