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Rick Stroud, Greg Auman and Matt Baker

Morris says P Koenen is a game-changer



The Bucs know first hand how Falcons free agent punter Michael Koenen can change the game by changing field position.

That's why Tampa Bay coach Raheem Morris is so happy to have Koenen and his 42-yard career average after the six-year pro agreed to a six-year, $19.5-million contract.

What's not as obvious is that Koenen is probably just as valuable for his ability to kick off. In six NFL seasons, Koenen has had 106 touchbacks, which ranks third in the league from 2005-10. Last season, the Falcons led the league in average opponent starting position after the kickoff (22.2 yard line) and the time opponents began drives inside their own 20-yard line after the kickoff (23).

"He certainly changes field position,'' Morris said. "He certainly killed us and now he's with the good guys. When I called him I told him that. He brings a specialty to kickoffs, he brings the dynamic of the field position and winning that battle. Controlling the ball, getting the ball back to the quarterback, changing field position. I've been a victim of that enough. We were very fortunate to get him and feel great about it.''




[Last modified: Friday, July 29, 2011 2:07pm]


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