CFL - Special Teams Power Rankings Week 20 - Kickers and Punters
Well, fellow Special Teams fans, there is only 1 week remaining in the 2022 CFL Season. Let's discuss where each player stands in this week's write up;
First and foremost, I'd like to thank Robert Butrym for allowing me to use his photo for this week's article!
There was not a lot of movement this week, mainly because only 2 kickers had a bad game. League-wide, kickers were 19/24 (79.2%) on field goals and 18/18 on converts this week. I was impressed... for the most part. Let's discuss how each of the Kickers performed with a look at my (un)Official Week 20 CFL Kicker Power Rankings;
Rene Paredes (CGY) is in our First Position heading into the final week of the 2022 season and he deserves to be there. He finishes the night 4/4 on field goals and 2/2 on converts. He also hit a beauty 42 yard-long field goal!
Seth Small (HAM) continues to be a star for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. He was a key component in the Cats win over Ottawa this week, racking up a season-high 16 points by going 5/6 on field goals and 1/1 on XPs. He hit a long of 38 yards late in the Third Quarter and even lined up for a game-winner with :00 on the clock. He launched a beautiful 30 yard field goal to win the game for the TiCats 30-27! In his post-game interview he was told that in the past 3 games he has made 13 field goals and responded with a quote I think we all can agree with: "I think the CFL stands for Crazy Fun League. I'm having a blast up here". He will head into the final week in Second Position.
Sean Whyte (BC) once again showed his old team why letting him walk was a mistake after the BC Lions Pummeled the Edmonton Elks 31-14. He made all 3 of his field goal attempts and went 3/3 on converts as well. All 3 of his kicks were near the 35 yard mark, with his longest coming in the Fourth Quarter from 37 yards out! He is one of the most consistent kickers in the CFL this season (and maybe in general) and deserves his Top 3 Position heading into the final week. If you can beat him at a memory game, you could win 100$, check it out here.
Marc Liegghio (WPG) had a Bye Week this week.
David Côté (MTL) tried his best and made all 3 of his field goal attempts and both PATs during the Alouettes' 24-23 loss against Toronto. His two kicks over 40 yards were straight down the middle and he managed a pretty 47 yard long in the Fourth Quarter. The Alouettes could have won this game if they had just opted to let Côté attempt 2 field goals early in the First Quarter but alas, Montreal's playcalling continues to disappoint me. Côté will jump 2 spots into the Top 5 this week.
Sergio Castillo (EDM) was not given any opportunities to kick a field goal in the Elks season closer but does manage to make both his convert attempts. He finished the season really strong and attributes that to the signing of former teammate Jon Ryan. Before the veteran Punter was holding for him, he was 18/23 (78.2%) on field goals. After the signing in Week 8, Castillo finished the season 19/20 (95%).
Brett Lauther (SSK) was the first of the two kickers who did not play well this week. He ended the night going 2/4 on field goals and 2/2 on converts. He made two kicks within the 40-49 yard range, which is expected in my opinion, and missed one from 53 yards out. This miss can't really be held against him, as it is 50+ yards away but at the start of the season, I would've told you that distance is nothing for Lauther. The rough part was the 38 yard miss that came later in the game. Come on Brett... With his 2 field goals, he raised another 400 dollars for the Kidsport program though, so that's gotta be worth something. He also managed another onside kick that was recovered by the Riders.
Lewis Ward (OTT) had a great week against Hamilton going 2/2 on field goals and making the longest kick of his 2022 Season! He booted the ball 51 yards in the Fourth Quarter, which tied the game 27-27, though we already know how that ended. He also quietly went 3/3 on PATs. I need to see him hit another 45+ yard field goal before the end of the season before I can confidently say he is turning a corner.
Boris Bede (TOR) was unfortunately the second Kicker who did not perform well throughout this week's stretch of games. He lined up for 2 field goals and didn't make either of them. He did, however, score a Rouge on the 47 yard attempt with :00 on the clock. While the ball sailed wide right, he just needed to kick it 61 yards to get the Rouge, and kicked it exactly 61 yards to win the game. In this situation, when you're lining up for a game-winning, tie-breaking field goal with no time remaining, the #1 priority is length. Sure, if the ball goes between the uprights that's great, but you want, no, need the distance to ensure you're getting that 1 point.
NO MOVEMENT THIS WEEK. You read that right. There wasn't enough done to impress me in the punting department during these last 4 games. Let's discuss how each of the Punters performed with a look at my (un)Official Week 20 CFL Punter Power Rankings;
Cody Grace (CGY) will remain in the First Position even though he didn't have a great game in terms of Net Avg. He punted 3 times for 141 yards (47 Net Avg.) and just 30 Net yards after a 104 yard punt return by Mario Alford. This was more of a reflection on his coverage team than him though. One of his other 2 punts landed inside the 20 yard line and another was for over 50 yards.
Richie Leone (OTT) continues to punt the most in the CFL, racking up another 9 punts for 333 yards (37 Avg.) and 299 Net yards (33.2 Net Avg.). 3 of his punts landed inside the 20 yard line (one on the 7 yard line and another on the 10 yard line). He will stay in the Second Position going into the last week of the CFL Season.
Joseph Zema (MTL) played really well, though none of his punts landed inside the 20. He punted 3 times for 133 yards (44.3 Avg.) and 116 Net yards (38.7 Net Avg.). He will remain in the Third Position.
John Haggerty (TOR) had one of his best games despite a long return on one of his punts, which brought down his Net Avg. a little. He punted 6 times for 263 yards (43.8 Avg.) and 176 Net yards (29.3 Net Avg.). Four of his 6 punts landed inside the 20 yard line which is good for 67%. 2 of those landed on the 10 yard line. He will look to push into the Top 3 by the end of the Season.
Stefan Flintoft (BC) will remain in the Fifth Position this week after punting 5 times for an impressive 271 yards (54.2 Avg.) and 206 Net yards (41.2 Net Avg.). He certainly has a huge leg, but he is not being put in a position to Pin his opponents deep, only hitting about 19% of his punts inside the 20 yard line.
Marc Liegghio (WPG) had a Bye Week this week.
Michael Domagala (HAM) played very, very well this week. He has been improving slowly but surely over the last couple of weeks. He punted 4 times for an Avg. of 49 yards and a Net Avg. of 46.8 Net yards per punt. He hit a crazy 82 yard punt from within his own 20 yard line, and pinned Ottawa deep onto their own 16 yard line. Hopefully, he will continue to impress and finish the season strong.
Kaare Vedvik (SSK) punted 4 times for 185 yards (46.3 Avg.) and 137 Net yards (34.3 Net Avg.). Only one of those punts was over 50 yards and none were inside the 20 yard line.
Jonathan Ryan (EDM) finished his season punting 6 times for 38.2 yards and 31.3 Net yards per punt. He decided to hang up his cleats with the conclusion of his 2022 CFL Season, stating that "Father time has finally got me". You can read more about his retirement and his career here.
Thank you for making it this far in my article! Please make sure to let me know what you think. -Big Ups to everyone on Twitter who continues to post great Specialist content. -
I couldn't do it without you :)