What a difference a week can make.
Or in Drew Kaser’s case, a matter of days.
The rookie punter bounced back from the toughest game of his football life against the Oakland Raiders with a monster performance 96 hours later against the Denver Broncos. As a result, the NFL awarded him the AFC Special Teams Player of the Week after he played a pivotal role in the Bolts’ 21-13 victory.
“Honestly, it’s all about just getting back to the basics and forgetting the past,” he said. “I’ve believed my entire life you can’t dwell on the past, whether it is positive or negative. You have to move on to the next punt. That was my mentality. I came out and said I can’t let the past shape who I am because that’s not who I was. So I went out there this past Thursday to prove who I am.”
Kaser booted the ball five times, averaging 47.4 yards per attempt. His first punt was a career-long 60-yard blast, and his final one was a 59-yarder late in the fourth quarter that he boomed from his own end zone and landed at the Broncos’ 27-yard line. Four of his five attempts landed inside the 20, with none more important than his pooch punt early in the fourth quarter. That punt landed at the three-yard line, leading to a safety one play later when Caraun Reid drew a hold in the end zone.
Kaser admitted starting the game off with a big, booming punt felt particularly good.
“I’m not going to lie, that felt pretty good,” he laughed before taking a more serious note. “But again, I had to just forget that punt and move onto the next one. It’s all about putting my team in the best position possible.”
Still, the punter was more proud of the four that landed inside the 20. He praised the coverage units, and gave credit to the defense for using the field position to their advantage.
“It speaks wonders to my teammates, from my protection up front to the gunners on the outside. That was huge. I want to do that as much as possible. Setting the ball up at the three-yard line, and then our defense to go out there and get that holding in the end zone was huge. It was a big momentum changer in the game, so it was great to see them do that.”
Head Coach Mike McCoy weighed in on the awards, explaining why he is proud of the rookie punter.
“I’m very pleased with Drew and the way he played the other day,” he said. “Give him a lot of credit for responding. He might not have had his best performance the week before, but like all players, (it’s how you) respond and come back. He’s a young player. There’s going to be some ups and downs, and he did a phenomenal job for us. He played a big role in helping us win that game the other day.”