It's easy to define what traits and abilities set players apart at many positions on an NFL roster. And to the average fan, it's often obvious what measurements are used to define a good play on either offense or defense.
When it comes to special teams, however, metrics are often harder to decipher.
In the Rams special teams room, it comes down to one general theme — field position. Every time the special teams unit takes the field, coordinator John Fassel is looking for where drives begin — whether that be as a product of a kick, punt, or a return.
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"When we kick it off or punt it, how significantly do we flip the field? On a kickoff where does the opponent drive start and after we punt it, how much did we net to knock them back?" Fassel explained. "And then on the flip side of it, when they punt us the ball, how can we limit their net punt yardage as best we can. Then in the kickoff, how can we maximize our team drive start?"
In short, the Rams special teams unit is looking to set up the other two phases of the ball in the most favorable positions possible.
The goal, as Fassel explained, is to either limit the yardage gained by an opposing team or better the drive start location for the club's offense.
"Those are things that are pushed to the guys pretty hard in the special teams classroom," he said. "Because our job is to set up the offense or defense in a field position advantage when they take the field, so, that would be one of many things, but that's a big one."