Hang time is key for Lee vs. Hester

Candlestick Park has not been kind to kickers and punters. But don’t tell that to punter Andy Lee, who has established himself over the past four seasons as one of the best in the game.

 

Since 2006, Lee ranks third in the NFL with a 46.9 gross average and second with a 39.7 net average. The only NFL punter who clearly has better numbers during that time is Raiders punter Shane Lechler.

 

Lee and the punt-coverage unit face a major challenge tomorrow night when the 49ers play host to the Chicago Bears and Devin Hester, who has 12 touchdowns on returns in his four year career.

 

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In our podcast, Lee talks about . . .

 


AndyLee.jpg–Last week’s game against the Titans when he averaged 56.7  yards (53.3 net) on three punts. “It doesn’t happen much,” Lee said. “It was one of those games flowing and feeling good.”

 

–The challenge of facing Hester: “The main thing is hang time to give the coverage guys time to get down there. The longer ball is in the air, better chance (they have) to make a tackle.”

 

–Distance on his punts Thursday will take a backseat to hang time. Lee will want his punts with hang time of at least 4.5 seconds.

 

–The goal is still a 38-yard net average. Lee’s net average for the season is 42.5, which ranks second in the NFL behind Lechler’s 44.9 average. On his goal of 38 yards net, Lee said, “I want to be there. That’s a good number to help the team win. Anything above that is wonderful.”

 

–On his steady improvement throughout his career: “I feel I’ve gotten better every year.” He said he is more consistent and more comfortable.

 

–He said he speaks with Lechler more than any punter in the league because of the time the teams spend together in training camp, and meeting yearly in the exhibition season.

 

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