CFL - Special Teams Power Rankings Week 1 - Kickers and Punters
The start of the 2022 CFL Season has come and gone, and wow! We got treated to some awesome games. Let's discuss how kickers and punters played to start their seasons;
CFL Kickers put on a clinic for us fans! 8 Kickers took to the field this week and attempted 22 field goals. Only 1 attempt was missed for an impressive 95.5% across the board. Let's discuss how the players performed with a look at my (un)Official Week 1 CFL Kicker Power Rankings;
Brett Lauther (SASK) couldn't have played any better. He was 100% on all 5 of his field goal attempts during their 30-13 win over the Hamilton Tiger-Cats this week. He will claim the First Position on our rankings!
Rene Paredes (CGY) is always a treat to watch. He opened the season making all 3 of his field goal attempts, including a 38 yard game-winner!
Lewis ward (OTT) started his 4th season with the Redblacks off right, completing all 3 of his field goal attempts, including a long from 43 yards out.
Sean Whyte (BC) had a really impressive night. Seeing as the Lions were running up the score on Edmonton, he was given the opportunity to show his leg 9 total times. He completed a chip-shot 13 yard field goal and then made 8 convert attempts (32 yard kicks) in a row. For that reason, he will beat out Castillo and reside in the Fourth Position.
Sergio Castillo (EDM) performed as I expected him to during his first start for the Elks. He completed all 3 of his field goal attempts and had a long of 37 yards out.
David Côté (MTL) played very well during the first game of his second year in the CFL. The Quebec Kid made both his field goal attempts (minus one that was blocked, but that doesn't count as a miss in my opinion) and all 3 of his convert attempts. I want to see him given the opportunity to kick from longer distances before I move him further up the Rankings.
Michael Domagala (HAM) was not who I was expecting to start for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats but he played decently in their first outing. He did miss one of his field goal attempts but he did hit the longest field goal of the 2022 CFL Season from 52 yards out.
Marc Liegghio will take the final position on our Power Rankings list, though it isn't because he played poorly. In fact, he played very well, but competition in the CFL is wild! He was 2 for 2 on field goals and 1 for 2 on convert attempts (miss from 32 yards), which is why he slips below Domagala (miss from 46 yards). It is worth noting that I noticed the Blue Bombers had 3 long snaps go awry. Shout out to Holder Dakota Prukop who saved the hold on the game-winning 25 yard field goal.
There were certainly a couple of surprises this week regarding punters! Let's discuss how the players performed with a look at my (un)Official Week 1 CFL Punter Power Rankings;
James Smith (CGY) came out and PLAYED this week! After All-Star Punter Cody Grace went down with a groin injury the Stamps traded a Conditional 7th round pick in the 2023 CFL Draft to the Roughriders for Smith. It. Paid. Off. Smith starts his rookie CFL Season punting 7 times for an Avg. of 51.3 yards, a NET Avg. of 44.7 yards (League-high), 4 punts over 50 yards, and 28.6% of his punts landing inside the 20 yard line. You can't ask for a better game for a punter and he rightfully gets the first position in our Rankings.
Stefan Flintoft (BC) showed why he was my 2021 Best Punter in the CFL with an impressive showing this week. He punted 4 times, with 75% of his punts being over 50 yards, and an impressive 41.5 Net. Avg. He will look to battle with Smith and another surprise punter in the top three moving forward.
That surprise is Winnipeg Punter Marc Liegghio! He absolutely showed me that I was wrong to doubt the front office for not bringing in more punting competition. He finished his night punting for a NET Avg. well above league-average and 50% of his punts inside the 20 yard line. He will secure his position in the top 3 for this week.
Joseph Zema (MTL) had a very good game this week. He was asked to punt 6 times, with 3 of those punts with him lining up just outside of his own endzone. Despite not being set up in the best position, he managed to have a NET Avg. of 39.2 yards per punt, which is impressive considering the circumstances.
Richie Leone (OTT) had a very high Avg. yards per punt this week sitting at 50.3 (third in the league) but his NET Avg. of 38.5 NET yards was just that, average (compared to the rest of the league). He will need to place punts in better positions for his coverage team to ensure secure tackles moving forward.
Kaare Vedvik (SASK) will slide to the Seventh Position in this week's Power Rankings after an average performance this week.
Sergio Castillo (EDM) and Simone Laryea (HAM) both struggled this week, but Castillo only punted 5 times, whereas Laryea punted 9 times, for a worse stat line. I am interested to see if Whitford will return anytime soon for the Ti-Cats.
This week every player scored their own Season longs! Here are the notable records set this week;
HAM Tiger-Cats Kicker Michael Domagala kicks a 52 yard FG (Personal Best) (2022 Longest FG)
HAM Tiger-Cats Punter Simon Laryea punted a long of 58 yards (Personal Best)
CGY Stampeders Punter James Smith punted a long of 72 yards (Personal Best)
Thank you for making it this far in my article! Please let me know what you think about the article through the contact page! Have a good day everyone :)