The Bengals selected punter Brad Robbins in the sixth round of the draft with the expectation that he would be a better option than Drue Chrisman. While Robbins was not drafted because of his powerful leg that would send punts down to the opponent's 20-yard line out of his end zone, it is reasonable to expect he could average more than 40 yards per punt, as was the case on Sunday against the Browns. His collegiate career average was 43.0 yards per punt.
For perspective, Cleveland’s punter, Corey Bojorquez, dealing with the same inclement weather, averaged 47.3 yards per punt, three inside the 20, and zero touchbacks.
Also, while he did manage to get off a couple of well-hit punts, his longest being 54 yards, not all were good. Furthermore, Donovan Peoples-Jones still had a couple of chances to field some punts. Fortunately, the coverage team was there to hold the dangerous returner to a long of six yards.
As much as his hang time was praised this offseason, the hope is that dangerous returners such as People-Jones will have fewer opportunities to make plays in that part of the game.
However, the punt unit the Bengals had on the field must protect Robbins better. The Browns saw something in the blocking scheme to exploit. On several occasions, Cleveland almost got close enough to affect the punt.
Let’s hope that Robbins will perform consistently closer to what the Bengals were expecting when they drafted him out of Michigan. We should also hope that Robbins does not have to punt the ball 10 times in a game again.