In a Thursday morning press conference, Buffalo Bills general manager Brandon Beane discussed signing punter Sam Martin, saying that choosing a veteran for the vacant punting position was important in the decision-making process.
Beane stressed that the team’s focus was on special teams as a whole and not just the punting game, referencing Matt Haack’s struggles during the 2021 season and the team’s decision not to replace him so as not to interrupt the flow that kicker Tyler Bass had as proof.
“This isn’t 2018,” Beane said, noting some young tryout players had strong legs. “We wanted a vet not only as a punter, but a guy who we’ve seen hold plenty of games.”
The team was looking for someone with game experience, not someone to mold to fit the position.
“Sam was a guy we looked at one of the years we played [the Detroit Lions] in the preseason. He had a higher cap number and we targeted him back when we were bringing [Corey Bojorquez] up,” said Beane. “We were aware of him before.”
Beane listed Martin’s strengths as accuracy and ball placement, saying that his ability to directionally place the ball and get his punts not only inside the 20-yard line but closer to the ten were all things that played a part in making the decision to sign the veteran.
“He’s been in the league nine years and only had one kick [blocked],” Beane said, noting that Martin’s time from “touch to toe” was another thing that impressed him.
There won’t be much time for Martin to work with Buffalo’s special teams squad before opening night, as the league is currently in a mandatory off-time period, but Beane said that he wasn’t worried about the trio of Martin, Bass, and long snapper Reid Ferguson not getting the job done.
“These are pros,” he said. “I have full faith in [special teams coach] Matt Smiley and that whole group that they will be ready to roll next Thursday.”
As for how Martin will fit into the Bills’ locker room, one that has been built around a culture that has been carefully developed by Beane and head coach Sean McDermott, Beane said that he has heard really good things about the newest addition.
“[Former Broncos teammate] Von Miller said really good things about him. Chad Hall, our receiver’s coach knows him through [former Lions QB] Matt Stafford. A lot of really good reviews on who Sam is,” Beane said.
“He’s a pro. He will fit right in.”