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Ryan.....teach me please....special teams


The Hall of Famer
Mar 30, 2010
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Florida State

Ryan, you play professional football at a level that the majority of us have never seen. I have never played beyond HS.

Can you shed some light on special teams.....and how you believe they work at the NFL level?

I have a few questions for you, if you would answer them:

1. I know at the HS level, that special teams represent a very small percentage of practice time. I know the punter and kicker practice a lot, but what about coverage teams at the NFL level? How many times during a week, does punt coverage, kickoff coverage, or field goal protection/blocking get practiced at full speed?

2. What about ST coaches? Are they taken seriously by the players? Are they viewed as "lesser" coaches? I imagine that your HC, coordinators and position coaches are much more important. Winning favor with them would seem to be much more crucial than the ST coach.

3. How do players at your level feel about ST? Is it a total pain that no one really wants a part of? Do players want to play on ST? Do they take pride in doing so? Or is it a nuisance, mainly required for players trying to make a team however they can?

Thanks.....I appreciate it. It's a topic that rarely gets discussed. And you have a lot of insight into it.

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Nov 17, 2010
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I live in the warmest city in the coldest provinc


I don't play Professionally, I had a cup of coffee at the pro level, went to a couple training camps at the pro level, but I play and coach at the semi pro level.

I mostly played on cover teams early in my career but I was always a regular on defence so I don't really know about how the guys who are just trying to make a team feel other than second hand., later on, I never played on anything but the FG team lol. The team I am on now actually doesnt practice specials at all, and it shows lol, we have a solid punter but our cover teams suffer. pro level specials are practiced differently, I know of at least 2 teams that friends play on that practice specials for at least 45 min every practice, they run "thud" which means live hitting on the line and gunners but nobody goes to the ground. the majority is just non hitting but they practice angles. pursuit and lane responsability. its very rarely full speed, to the ground. I know one guy who started as a special teams guy because he was 6-6 275 and was scary athletically, and he worked hard and now starts for the Bears as a DE/DT he told me they took it pretty seriously and practiced at least once a day for minimum 45 min to an hour.

2- St coaches are taken more seriously by the guys who rely on them to make the team, the marginal guys who might be athletic but not polished, know they increase their chances by being good on teams and to be good you have to play on them lol. on good teams, all the coaches are respected but ST coaches are usually a bit different, they are mostly pretty weird guys tbh.

3- It really all depends. for a guy who is established, specials are a pain in the ass but sometimes they are fun, the crappy part is a chance for some noname looking to build a rep to earhole you or cheap shot you and a chance to get hurt. for a guy looking to make a name, its a great way to get on the field and show you belong. some guys (the best special teamers) take it really seriously, and its a completely different skill than playing regular football.

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