One of my favorite curiosities in football is the unique role of special teams. A football game can be waged on the line of scrimmage between 300 pound behemoth men for sixty minutes of action and still come down to whether the smallest, most inactive guy on the team can perform a skills competition.
For years one of the few bright spots on the team has been the play of its special teams. Now that the team has taken steps to be more competitive on offense and defense, one wonders if it's time for the special teams to take a commensurate dip, and be like a real NFL team.
The quarterbacks, if you will, of their special teams have been their kicker Rian Lindell and their punter Brian Moorman. While I have seen several Moorman jerseys at the Ralph over the years, they're not really anyone's favorite player, right? (And if they are, maybe you're worried about the competition the Bills have brought in for both this offseason?)
For me, one player who really stood out on special teams last year on the gunner role in punt team was journeyman receiver, Ruvell Martin. A Bills gunner is always kinda playing in the shadow of Steve Tasker, and Martin last season at times did an excellent Tasker impression in getting down the field effectively and making a play on the return man.
The gunner is a warrior's role, one that involves battling through a double team of swift cornerback-types who are there to push you, shove you, and say things about your mom. It's fitting that a guy like Martin, conscious of the NFL's other acronym (not-for-long), can excel in such a thankless job.
It remains to be seen, however, if the Bills will have the roster space to keep so specialized a role when they're already carrying a wildcat QB (Brad Smith), a long-snapper (Garrison Sanborn), and seem to be exploring carrying a kickoff specialist (John Potter).
So Martin's my favorite guy, but special teams standouts are not always obvious.