Buffalo Bills punting battle is already over and here’s why

Matt Araiza, Buffalo Bills (Syndication: Democrat and Chronicle)
Matt Araiza, Buffalo Bills (Syndication: Democrat and Chronicle) /
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Buffalo Bills
Matt Araiza, Buffalo Bills (Photo by Joshua Bessex/Getty Images) /

Matt Araiza will be the Buffalo Bills’ punter this season.

Araiza comes to the Buffalo Bills with perhaps one of the most prominent reputations a rookie punter has had in the NFL in a long time. His massive leg was often featured in several highlights littered across social media. His reputation, skillset, and performance led to the Bills spending a sixth-round pick, making him the third punter drafted in the 2022 NFL draft.

There was one obvious question with Araiza coming into this season: his skills as a holder. Araiza was also the placekicker for San Diego State in college, so he did not have experience as a holder. Holding is something the Buffalo Bills take very seriously with their punters, as it was one of the main reasons they moved on from Corey Bojorquez in 2020 after he led the NFL in average yards per punt.

In the first preseason game, Matt Araiza was the lone holder for Tyler Bass and was near perfect on every attempt. With repetition, Araiza will only improve, and I think we can put those holding questions to rest from just one game.

With concerns as a holder temporarily put to rest, we can look at what Matt Araiza did with his leg. With only one opportunity to punt, Araiza blasted a ball 82 yards for a touchback and a net of 62-yards.

What was interesting to see on social media was criticism of Araiza and how he kicked the ball into the opposing end zone. This is pretty ridiculous considering the punt had a net of 62 yards while the NFL average yards per punt is 45.6 yards. This means that Araiza’s punt went 16.4 net yards longer than the average punt length of the NFL last season.

Touchback or not, no special teams coordinator would ever balk at that sort of production.