The Cincinnati Bengals’ punter competition is coming down to the wire with Drue Chrisman and Kevin Huber both battling for a starting spot in 2022. Who will come out on top?
Chrisman, Cincy’s hometown free agent signing of 2021, spent most of his NFL career on the Bengals’ practice squad but enters 2022 with a real shot at dethroning Kevin Huber.
Huber is currently in his 14th season in Cincinnati and holds nearly every franchise punting record in the books. If the veteran were to take the field for the Bengals’ season-opener, he would play in his 208th game and break the franchise service record.
Yet head coach Zac Taylor and specials teams coordinator Darrin Simmons are keeping the team’s best interests at heart, and this punting battle remains up in the air ahead of the preseason finale against the Los Angeles Rams.
The pros and cons of each punter are clearly drawn out: Chrisman has more leg juice, Huber has more experience.
Bengals have a tough decision to make between Drue Chrisman and Kevin Huber
Chrisman has been working on finetuning his hang time and accuracy this offseason but showed plenty of leg power back at Ohio State, where he served as the team’s primary punter for four seasons and averaged 44.0 yards per kick.
So far in preseason, both Chrisman and Huber have performed well, but not astonishingly well. In the Bengals’ last two preseason games, neither punter has forced the opponent to fair catch and neither has really stuck out as a decisive winner in the ongoing competition.
There’s also the question of holding duties for kicker Evan McPherson. Huber held the advantage for a while, but Chrisman has dramatically improved over the course of the year and is reportedly tied with Huber in that department.
"“A year ago in practice there was a big difference in Evan’s effectiveness between Kevin and Drue. He was much more effective with Kevin with a higher percentage than Drue. This year it’s a dead heat…They’ve been statistically identical as far as makes and misses.”"
Ultimately, the town of Cincinnati isn’t big enough for both Chrisman and Huber, and one will be sent home before the start of the season.
This battle could very well be determined tonight against the Rams. May the best overall punter win.