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In Sports

Don't let the door hit you on the way out of Green Bay, B.J.

Good night, B.J. Sander


The B.J. Sander era is officially over.

Shall we drink to that?

I went today to his official Packers team page as I sat to write this. The most beautiful thing appeared.

"Sorry, the Page You Requested Was Not Found."

Your final totals. 64 punts over two seasons, with an anemic average of 39.2. His long, 53 yards. And I bet that was with roll.

I want every Packers fan to know those numbers, and to recite those numbers every time Mike Sherman's name comes up. Spit those letters out like they were dipped in turpentine.

Bee-Jay-F'ing-Sander.

Nice third-round pick on a punter. Even the stupidest, short-bus-riding-newbie in a fantasy league wouldn't pick a punter in the third round. But the Packers did under Sherman's double-duty as coach and GM.

I just wonder what the discussion – if there was any discussion – sounded like when they were debating that pick. How many times has a punter won a SINGLE game for a football team?

Oh sure, maybe they helped a team win a game. But only if that guy had one of the most spectacular punting days in his entire life would that be true. And we'd have to be talking rocket ship 70-yarders out of his own end zone, soft-landing coffin corner jobs that pin the other team at the 1. Stuff like that.

Maybe even a fake punt, turned first down pass.

Then, maybe – just maybe – you could say: "Boy, I am sure glad we grabbed that punter in the third round. He is fabulous! Look at how the other team just FEARS our punter!"

Oh wait a minute, this just in. The Pack didn't just waste a third-rounder on this guy, they actually traded more picks just to move UP in order to take him.

I don't care if a guy is the gay lovechild of Reggie Roby and Ray Guy. I'm not picking a punter with anything higher than a seventh rounder. And even then, he better kick the ball so damn high and so damn far, that angels sing lightly in the heavens behind it.

The Oakland Raiders took kicker Sebastian Janikowski with a late first round pick. He's been OK, but hardly great. He was supposed to have a legendarily strong leg. That's why the Raiders wasted a #1 on him – on the fifth time in football history a kicker went in the first round. Funny thing is, Janikowski has only seven career makes over 50 yards in 6 NFL seasons. And his long is just 55.

How idiotic can you be?

Well, the Packers said: "Watch this!"

And thus you got B.J. Sander.

Hell, you could have thrown a dart at the names in the third round, and ended up with somebody better. TE Chris Cooley, QB Matt Schaub, and DT Darnell Dockett all came in the 3rd round that year.

Oh, but look at the scouting report they had on this kid B.J. Sander. After you read about his "touch-to-toe" mechanics, how could you pass on him?

"Two-step left-footed punter with very good touch-to-toe mechanics (1.22-second average) ... Gets very good hang time (4.88-second average) on his punts and does a very nice job of angling his kicks towards the sidelines on pooch punts ... Has the leaping ability to field the high snaps ... Has good athletic skills, strength and speed for his position ... Good worker in the weight room ... Has above-average leg explosion and strength ... Drops the ball and strikes it with good force, showing consistency in his get-off ... Has good hands and will not come across his body on his attempts."

As Gilda Radner would say: "Oops. Never mind."

Do you remember when I was mocked for saying that with about a year of hands-on training, I could become at least an "average" play caller in the NFL. Note, I never said I could be a coach or coordinator – just play caller.

You give me the offense, let me work side by side with the team for a year, and then come Sunday, put me in the booth and let me call "X-scat, tango-40, double-zoom, flush" on 3rd and 8.

I wouldn't be as bad as some guys doing it now. Neither would you.

Of course, people ridiculed me for saying this. The NFL is just "soooo complicated" and such, and you need YEARS of experience. Blah, blah, blah.

At least I know this much. I would not have delivered you guys B.J. Sander. If football people were really as smart as we in the media make them out to be, this kind of thing would never happen.

Two seasons, 64 punts, and a long of 53. Good night, B.J.

Talkbacks

OMCreader | Aug. 29, 2006 at 8:56 p.m. (report)

Generally UnSherman said: Hate the pick, not the punter. It's not Sander's fault he was picked in the 3rd round. If someone wanted to pay me a $500K signing bonus to shank the ball off my foot, I'd take it in a heartbeat. You'd just hope that the Packers wouldn't have personnel people in place foolish enough to make that decision. But they did (and still do) so we're back to the 70's and 80's. That'll just make winning the 2026 Super Bowl that much sweeter.

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OMCreader | Aug. 29, 2006 at 4:47 p.m. (report)

Wally said: Low hanging fruit, Czaban. We didnt' need you to tell us that this backfired.

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OMCreader | Aug. 29, 2006 at 2:12 p.m. (report)

Tommy G!! said: Czabe, You blew it again!! You just don't understand the depth and complexity of running an NFL team. Don't you realize that by having B.J. on the sidelines, teams will never guess that the real strategy is to have Favre throw long interceptions.... >53 yards! Nice try dummy~~~~

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OMCreader | Aug. 28, 2006 at 9:05 p.m. (report)

IWB said: Don't forget Czabe, not only did the Pack take him in the third round, they traded up to get him.

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OMCreader | Aug. 27, 2006 at 6:26 p.m. (report)

Daddy said: This breaks the old adage "even a bad BJ is still good".

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