visualize the actions of the gunners

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Matthew slater | Gunner nfl

Special teams in the NFL may play a non-determining, but rather significant role in the success of the team. One of the key players in the pant-breaking team is the so-called gunner. This player is on the edge, his task is to quickly run through the field and capture the returner. Gunner’s main problem is that he meets at least one defender on his way to the goal.

“It's like running down the street and simultaneously fighting two rivals,” said Steve Tasker in an interview with Esquire magazine. It should be noted that he understands the issue. A seven-time proboler and five-time All-pro participant, Steve is considered one of the best players in history.

Now it’s quite difficult to determine the effectiveness of Tasker without video recording, but we can use NextGenStats to see how the players of this position act today.

For example, take one player from each team who played the gunner most often in the 2019 season (from the first to the seventh week). Below is the movement pattern of each player - everyone starts on the scrimmage line (moving, starting from the bottom of the picture), while only the antlers in which the ganner played against one defender were selected. Players are arranged in order to overcome the greatest distance in 4.5 seconds after breaking through the blow. Justin Bethel (previously playing for Baltimore, now for the Patriots) runs the longest distance, while George Odum (Colts) runs the shortest.

As we can see, some ganners act on only one brow (Amir Abdullah from Minnesota prefers the left flank of the attack, and Hadarel Hodge from the Browns prefers the right), others. like Matthew Slater from the Patriots, on the contrary, they play on both sides. Player preferences regarding the occupied flank become clear after about 25 antlers.

Also noteworthy is the distance. which players overcome for the rally. So, the ganners located on the first line of the table, on average run 28 yards, six more than the players from the bottom line.

Well, another noteworthy fact is that the Patriots now have two top-level gunners (Slater seven-time proto-cooler).

What else is interesting?

- Matthew Slater, Josh Bellamy (Jets) and Brandon Wilson (Bengals) played against two defenders 15 times (they share first place in the league by this indicator);

- when playing against one defender, the fastest player in the first two seconds of the rally is Johnny Horton (Steelers). During this time, he runs 7.7 yards, 0.4 yards ahead of his closest competitor (Slater);

- when opposing two defenders, Dee Virgin (Lions) and Trenton Cannon (Jets) are the only players who manage to overcome 20 yards in 4.5 seconds after a snap;

- Miami leads the league in the frequency of putting up two defenders against one ganner, Dolphins play in 62% of the draws. Less often than all, New Orleans plays this way - only 20% of the antlers.

Material prepared according to
American Football Writer

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