Amongst all the years of turmoil, the Rams franchise has experienced their special teams has been the shining light. This season, that light has grown even brighter. The Rams have 3 players that’ll be heading to Orlando to compete in the 2017-2018 Pro Bowl game: punter Johnny Hekker, kicker Greg Zuerlein, and returner Pharoh Cooper. These three Pro Bowlers almost always make the impact needed when their unit is on the field. And that just comes right back to the fact that they’re insanely well-coached.
The unit is led by Special Teams coordinator John “Bones” Fassel. Whether it’s field position, blocking punts that go for touchdowns (leading the league in blocked punts with 3, might I add). You can ask any of his players and they all say the same thing, it all starts with Coach Fassel and his mastery. Bones will have to
This isn’t Johnny Hekker’s first Pro Bowl nomination, and it certainly won’t be his last. Hekker has made himself look the part as the best punter in the National Football League. This will be his fourth Pro Bowl trip since entering the league in 2012. He has only sustained one block in his career and shows consistency in putting the defense in a very attractive spot to start the drive. As an ex-quarterback, he even shows his arm strength during fake punts. Hekker has one completed passing attempt for 34 yards this season.
Greg Zuerlein has reached great heights this season. Greg “the Leg” is the NFL’s leading scorer with 158 points after just 15 weeks. He’s locked down two NFC Player of the Week awards this season, as well as NFC Special Teams Player of the month for his 51 points scored in the month of October. Legatron has kept the Rams ahead in multiple games this season with his powerful leg and accuracy. But after just being announced to the Pro Bowl roster, it’s been officially confirmed that Zuerlein has suffered a season-ending back injury that will place him on injured reserve. His wonderful season has been cut short and will surely be big shoes to fill moving on to the playoffs.
Pharoh Cooper earned his Pro Bowl nod after starting just 14 games. Cooper relieved Tavon Austin of returning duties due to his constant fumbling of the ball in first few weeks of the season. While Pharoh had similar struggles he faced since acquiring the starting job, Cooper has picked up and hasn’t slowed down. He has 29 punts returned that have gone for 395 yards. His kick return résumé looks even better, with 30 kicks returned for a league-leading 845 yards. His longest return went for 103 yards and a touchdown against the Jacksonville Jaguars. During that week 6 game, he earned his NFC Special Teams Player of the Week honors.
With the Rams team exceeding expectations, special teams plays a huge part in it. These players and their coach have earned their trip to the Pro Bowl. When this special teams unit walks through the tunnel, they’re the best to step on the field. With that being said, there’s an incredibly good chance these players, and the rest of their team, have a different business trip they have in mind like during the week of the Pro Bowl game…
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