The Titans Have Cut Punter Brett Kern And All Of My Happiness And Joy
This one hurts. Brett Kern, the greatest punter in Titans franchise history has been released. sO wHaT dUdE? hE’s JuSt A pUntEr! First off, [Gret Thurnberg voice] how dare you! That man was the heartbeat of our special teams dating back to the Bironas era (RIP in peace). Plus, just this year, the door was open wide for us to make all sorts of corn/Kern jokes like the Titans did.
But for anyone not recognizing the significance of a good punter – especially Titans fans – allow me to take you back to 2020 when the Titans lost a Thursday night game against the division rival Colts solely because their punter was a FedEx delivery truck driver. No offense, of course, to FedEx delivery truck drivers. Especially the ones bringing me my packages. I just don’t want you punting for my favorite NFL franchise.
Do I understand the move? I guess. Kern has been in the league for a long time. Since 2008 to be specific. With the Titans since 2009. He’s punted almost 1,000 times in his career (most of which coming during the Zach Mettenberger era I imagine), and over a third of those have been pinned inside the 20. That kind of accuracy is hard to find. Really hard to find. If you want to pin a team inside the ten, Kern was noted for his Coffin Kerner (shout out Jack Gentry for coming up with that!). That’s also something Kern’s replacement, Ryan Stonehouse, notably struggled with in the few games we got to watch him punt. To Stonehouse’s credit, he did look great in his final game, but keep in mind, he also dropped a snap leading to him running for a first down. A play that seems great in theory was only a play because he initially screwed up.
Despite the results, that’s not a positive.
I’d say clearly the Titans don’t follow me on Twitter, but (sick humble brag coming, so get ready) they actually do. But it’s clear they just don’t pay attention to any of my tweets. Like probably most of my followers.
I got a lot of responses to this tweet saying things like “nothing lasts forever” or this was “short term thinking.” And a lot of responses like this one:
But the keywords in Kaleb’s tweet: “think” and “could.” The idea of the future is the biggest epidemic in sports. People will cash in sure things (Kern) for the potential of something that we “think” “could” be the next best thing (Stonehouse). We see it all the time. People are trying to sell their stock high just to buy in on a stock before the business even has their LLC set up. What happens if Stonehouse sucks? What happens if he’s a horrible human (like another punter who was recently cut)? What happens if he’s good initially but gets the yips in a year or two? There are so many more variables at play with the changing of the guard. And it’s not like a decent punter is a hard position to find. If and when you have to move on from Kern, you very easily can. But finding a great punter can be difficult. I think Titans fans forget that after lightning struck twice with Hentrich and then Kern. All I’m saying is if there’s still gas in the tank, there’s no need to trade in the entire car. Maybe that’s a bad analogy since trading your car would probably be easier than filling up considering gas prices right now. So let’s try this: do you throw away milk before the expiration date? That’s where we’re at with Kern. There’s still meat left on that bone. Why would we throw him away? For the HOPE that Stonehouse can be a staple? We’ve been fortunate enough to where we haven’t had to think about the punter position in years. And in a year like this upcoming one, where we’re already worried about the offense (which is a giant question mark), why add one of the biggest pieces of your special teams to that list? You knew what you were getting with Kern (even if only for one more year), we have no idea how Stonehouse will pan out.
With all that said, if he’s the new punter, I’m all in. I’ll miss the Coffin Kerner, but I can get behind calling Stonehouse fans Stoners.