One of the San Francisco 49ers many stories this offseason was the decision to draft punter Bradley Pinion in the fifth round, and subsequently trade Andy Lee to the Cleveland Browns. The Pinion selection caught most of us off-guard, and had us keeping a closer eye on the punter position during the preseason. Pinion did not have the greatest preseason campaign, finishing 35th in gross average (43.8), and 22nd in net average (39.3). He was tied for 15th with five punts inside the 20 (on a league-leading 27 punts), and tied for 6th with five fair catches.
For the foreseeable future, Pinion will have to deal with Andy Lee comparisons. Lee is the greatest punter in franchise history, and change is never easy. On Sunday, Lee had a pair of punts that had 49ers fans wishing for the good ol' days. He had two punts with a gross average of 60.5, and a net average of 50.4.
Pinion had an up and down preseason performance, but he bounced back to put together a solid Week 1 performance. His overall numbers will not blow us away, but they were solid. He punted three times, with a 46.7 gross and 43.7 net. He dropped two of his punts inside the 20.
James Brady put together GIFs of Pinions three punts. I've included punt distance, return length and hang time. Special teams coach Thomas McGaughey said a hang time equivalent to punt length was ideal. For example, with a 45 yard punt you'd be looking for something around 4.5 seconds of hang time.
SF 49 - punted 39 yards to Minnesota 12, fair catch - 4.49 hang time
SF 25 - punted 52 yards to Minnesota 23, 9-yard return out of bounds - 4.53 hang time
SF 33 - punted 49 yards to Minnesota 18, no gain, L.J. McCray with perfectly timed tackle - 4.59 hang time