Joe DeCamillis not worried about Johnny Hekker’s down year in 2020

In a year when the Rams’ unique groups system carried out as one of the worst in the NFL, Johnny Hekker had his own share of battles in 2020. Especially in the 2nd half of the season, Hekker wasn’t striking the thriving punts fans have actually gotten so utilized to seeing.

He balanced a career-low 45.6 lawns per punt, a career-low 39.7 net lawns and had a punt obstructed for simply the 3rd time. He did pin 28 of his 68 punts inside the 20, however Hekker wasn’t his normal self.

That doesn’t always worry brand-new Rams unique groups planner Joe DeCamillis, nevertheless. He still views Hekker as one of the best punters in the league, if not the top guy at his position.

“I still think he’s, if not the top punter in the league, he’s one of the top punters in the league,” DeCamillis told reporters in his first press conference. “Sometimes, you just get in situations where you may be in different parts of the field where you’re not able to drive the ball as far as you did in certain other years. So, that’s part of it. We’re going through all those stats and all the all those metrics right now, trying to figure it out. But, I think he’s a great punter and hopefully next year he has a better year. That’s my hope. That’s what our goal is.”

In addition to his punting numbers lagging, Hekker also went the entire year without attempting a single pass – the first time in his career that’s happened. DeCamillis said earlier in the week that he’ll be campaigning with Hekker for more fake punts, and during his introductory press conference Thursday, he clarified that those opportunities don’t always come up.

It’s obvious that DeCamillis wants to keep opponents on their toes and one way to do that is by calling fakes every now and then.

“It depends on the situation. I think it depends on what the head coach’s plan is, what your team plan is,” he said. “You want to play complementary football as much as possible. Sometimes, they come up. Sometimes they don’t. In Jacksonville, we were very successful the last few years doing that and I know having the talent that John (Fassel) has, I hope we’re able to continue the ‘trickeration.’ That’s what I hope happens. So, we’ll see what happens.”

The Rams need to be better in every phase of unique groups, including punting. Hekker knows that, and so does DeCamillis. It’s just a matter of pinning groups deep and bailing out the offense when it stops working to move the ball.

Jobber Wiki author Frank Long contributed to this report.