The Cincinnati Bengals have several key free agents this offseason they must make decisions on that will impact the team’s chances for the 2013 season. They may not re-sign all of them, but they will need to make the right choices on who to bring back and who to allow to walk. Today, they made one such decision, signing a five-year extension with a player who is underrated in terms of importance to their success. Punter Kevin Huber will be back in Cincinnati, and while it’s not a flashy signing, fans of the Bengals should be excited to have him back in stripes.
Huber is coming off a season in which he had a career best 46.6 yards per punt, good for 14th best in the NFL, and a net average of 42.0 yards per punt, which was 4th in the league. His 33 punts downed inside the 20-yard line was top five, while only seven went into the endzone for touchbacks. Furthermore, he saved some of his best punts for big moments, switching field position and helping the Bengals win games. Punters aren’t often given enough credit for what they do, and generally aren’t noticed unless they do something wrong. The biggest compliment to Huber might be that he was hardly noticed last year, except for when he was unleashing a jaw-dropping 60-yard punt.
Special teams is sometimes an underrated part of professional football, a sport where the offense gets all the highlights, and defense is credited for winning championships. Ask a team with a good punter, though, and they’ll tell you how important it is. Today, the Bengals made the right decision to bring Huber back on board. Now, he’ll spend the next five years booming punts and pinning opponents around their goalline, even if fans don’t really notice him.