« SPECIAL REPORT: RBs make history | Main | Lloyd: Best kicker in K-ball era »

December 30, 2008

Jason Baker: Marino's new best friend?

There's a joke going around the Panthers' locker room that Dan Marino ought to buy punter Jason Baker a steak dinner.

It might be true. But it's also a way the Panthers are staying loose on the heels of their oh-so-close victory against New Orleans on Sunday with a little good-natured ribbing at Baker, whose shanked, 21-yard punt set up the Saints for a go-ahead touchdown late in the fourth quarter.

New Orleans only had to drive 45 yards to get the touchdown. But it left Saints quarterback Drew Brees still 16 yards shy of tying Marino's single-season NFL passing record.

If Baker's punt had gone at least those 16 yards farther -- or had it netted at least that much -- Brees could have broken the record on that drive. As it was, the Saints got the ball back with one second left after the Panthers had gone ahead 33-31. Brees' final pass -- which could potentially have broken the record -- fell incomplete.

And here's a cool stat: Baker ended the regular-season with a 37.4-yard net -- 16.4 yards more than his 21-yarder against the Saints, which went out of bounds and wasn't returned.

How do you like that steak, Jason? -- David Scott

Posted by Observer Sports on December 30, 2008 at 11:49 AM | Permalink


You laugh, but Baker's shank actually may have been a blessing. The Saints scored so quickly, the Panthers had plenty of time left to set up Kasey's field goal. A normal punt by Baker and the Saints may have taken another minute + off the clock.

Posted by: jbw | Dec 30, 2008 12:35:18 PM

You're absolutely right!
David Scott

Posted by: Observer Sports | Dec 30, 2008 12:52:17 PM

I'll take it further -- and did so as it happened -- that it was good that NO took the LEAD rather than tied, cuz Foxy would've just gone into a shell and played for OT.

From there is it 50-50 on the toss, and you KNOW that Brees would've gotten points the first time he got the ball.

Posted by: JAT | Dec 30, 2008 1:17:13 PM

JAT...there was no chance of OT. The game was never tied and at the point you're referencing it was 30-24...How exactly would Fox have played for OT?

Posted by: Dan | Dec 30, 2008 1:47:53 PM

It's funny that you consider the defense would have given up the touchdown even on a normal punt, but hey Fox is not concerned.

Posted by: jeff | Dec 30, 2008 1:57:29 PM

Dan, that game WAS tied at 30-30, and if NO had missed the extra point it would have gone into overtime. Think before you say stupid things.

Posted by: Roger | Dec 30, 2008 2:04:24 PM

Correction: the game COULD have gone into overtime.

Posted by: Roger | Dec 30, 2008 2:08:17 PM

What a great point!! And here I had been upset because we have one of the most overpaid, underperforming punters in the league!! Stupid me. Now every time that Baker shanks a punt, or kicks unecessarily into the end zone, or fails to kick out of bounds to avoid a top returner, I'll just remember shanked punts can sometimes turn out to be be pure gold, unwanted touch backs...undiscovered treasure troves, and 40-yard punt returns...blessings in disguise. Please, please, please give Baker a raise before some other team reaps the beautiful paradox of his mediocrity!

Posted by: kmel | Dec 30, 2008 3:05:18 PM

wow, apparently kmel hasn't watched a Panther game all season.

Posted by: K | Dec 30, 2008 3:41:01 PM

Baker has 30 punts down inside the 20 and 5 TB please Kmel tell me how that means "kick unecessarily into the end zone"??

Posted by: Billy | Dec 30, 2008 3:53:53 PM

kmel must a angry cowpoke fan//// we must understand that the haters will be coming out of the woodwork now that they have started jockying for those seats on the playoff couch.

Posted by: lookin4dlight | Dec 30, 2008 5:41:53 PM

Actually....no. I'm an obsessive Panthers fan, one who watched every down the Panthers have played this year, some at home and some at Bank of America stadium. And while Baker's out-of-context stats do indeed suggest that he has had a reasonable year, anyone who has paid close attention to Panthers games this year will tell you that Baker has been either a non-factor, or, more usually, a liability. He certainly has been out kicked by opposing teams' punters on a regular basis (at least 3/4 of the 16 games this season) and has muffed a number of important punts. Yes, we can all comfortably laugh about his latest gaff at the end of the Saints game because we won, but mark my words, when the playoff game comes in 2 weeks, Baker will definitely be out performed, no matter who we end up playing. Let's all hope that he doesn't end up costing us the game.

Posted by: kmel | Dec 30, 2008 7:49:41 PM

kmel i've watched every down too and i have no idea what your talking about. ur being way to critical just cuz he muffed 1 punt. gimme a break... ur prolly one of the few idiots who thinks we should cut john casey cuz he missed that 50 yarder into the wind. baker was like 3rd in the league with 30 punts downed inside the 20 yard line i'll take that and one muffed punt EVERY year.

Posted by: matt s | Dec 30, 2008 8:19:04 PM

I beg to differ. I also have watched every Panther down this year and the facts do not support your claim that Baker has been out kicked 3/4 of the 16 game schedule. I did a quick game by game comparison. Baker had a higher yards per punt attempt than his counterpart in 9 of the 16 games. And in every one of the 7 games he had a lesser average per punt than his counterpart, he put more balls within the 20 yard line than did his counterpart. In fact, in the 7 games when he was outkicked by average per punt, he put the ball within the 20 many more times than did his counterpart (at a rate of 19 punts within the 20 to only 7 punts within the 20 by his opponents during those 7 games). By the way, he put more balls within the 20 than his counterpart in 10 of the 16 games, he tied his counterpart in two, and he was beaten only by his counterpart in 4 games. I'd say that Baker's performance supports the fact that Fox knows what he is doing by having Baker as our punter.

Posted by: Pat | Dec 30, 2008 8:36:13 PM

Baker is a top 10 punter.

Posted by: J. | Dec 30, 2008 9:43:13 PM

Hey just looking for the posters from preseason off of Carolina Growl, the ones who said the COwcrap boies would win it all and said the PANTHERS (12-4) (1st round bye) would suck please tell us how cow crap taste? From a Panther FAN who will be at a PLAYoff GAME and not at home watching from the couch saying their going to do it next year, by the way will the cowdung and patroit fans be at the same bar this year?

Posted by: scott | Dec 30, 2008 9:49:35 PM

Baker has muffed one punt and shanked one this year, also please point out how my stats are out of context. Baker has put 39% of his punts in the 20 while 7% where touchbacks.

Posted by: billy | Dec 30, 2008 9:51:40 PM

Baker is as good a punter as anyone in the league. That shank was a very rare hiccup.

Posted by: Robby | Dec 30, 2008 10:31:49 PM

OK. Pat's stats are hard to argue with. Crow eaten. But let me end this strand with a couple of thoughts. First, up until this year, I had been a big fan of Baker. His punts were long and had plenty of hang time. He also seemed to be a clutch player. This year, though, things have felt different. His punts haven't seemed to have the hang time that they used to, and his inability to angle punts has really started to annoy me. And while he has had a few good games, he hasn't seemed to hit an amazing punt when the team really needed it, like Feagles did towards the end of the Giants game.

Posted by: kmel | Dec 30, 2008 10:32:08 PM

Seriously doubt Fox comes back if the team wins the superbowl. Why would he want to with a bunch of blow-holes of "fans" attacking him and his players for being successful!? In my 20 years in the Carolinas, I have come to learn that hicks love to be miserable and make everyone else even more miserable. Some of you obviously fall in that category.


Posted by: Keeping It Real | Dec 30, 2008 10:44:22 PM

does anyone know if there is a website were you can lookup past years results in the bench press at the combine? i was wondering what some of the panthers have done like beason or peppers. i heard that peppers wasnt as strong coming out of college as you might think for his size.

Posted by: tj | Dec 30, 2008 10:58:29 PM

I'm glad because Marino is a legend and Brees is nowhere near up to his caliber. No one had even heard of him a few years ago and he's not the big star Marino was.

Posted by: Neal | Dec 31, 2008 3:51:55 AM

Before the great Kasey Kick the score was 30-31 NO.With the kick it was 33--we win.

Posted by: steve | Dec 31, 2008 9:23:34 AM

I think its funny that so many of the posters here keep bringing up the Cowboys. This article had NOTHING to do with Dallas, and not one Cowboys fan posted (until me) and some of you still feel so threatened you had to bring up the fact that the Cowboys screwed up and missed the playoffs.
I'm glad the Panthers did well, I'm a Panthers' fan (after my Cowboys, whom I've pulled for since the days of Staubach)and I'm excited that they have a good shot of making (and hopefully winning) the Super Bowl. But it makes some of you sound like jealous little brothers to rag on Dallas. The Cowboys have made 8 SB's to the Panthers' 1, and won 5 to the Panthers' 0. I'm sure that Carolina will continue to be successful in the future, and I understand that Dallas has had a 30 year head start, but the fact remains the Cowboys have been to more, and are tied for the most wins in SB history. So I always take it as a complement when other teams try to trash Dallas when they do poorly. (And yes, for Dallas, 10-6 is a disappointing season).
Congrats to the Panthers, and I hope to see them do well in the Super Bowl!

Posted by: AJ | Dec 31, 2008 9:31:05 AM

AJ the Cowboys have not won a playoff game since 1996 and have not had a winning record in December in 9 years. Quit living in the past they are very mediocre.

Posted by: Steve | Dec 31, 2008 10:11:35 AM

The comments to this entry are closed.