In the realm of the NFL, punter is typically not given a whole lot of respect in the grand scheme of things. If they were, Ray Guy would easily be in the Hall of Fame. The Raiders didn't have to think too much about their punter position for the past 12 years as the position was held down by All Pro punter, Shane Lechler.
Now Lechler is gone - heading to the Houston Texans as a free agent - and suddenly there is a nice little battle going on for the punting job in Oakland.
That battle is between Chris Kluwe and Marquette King. But if you ask King, it isn't Kluwe with whom he is competing - it's himself.
"Every day I come out, I talk to myself," said King. "I'm just telling myself ‘what am I doing to be great today. I'm not competing against nobody but myself. Tomorrow I'm gonna compete against what I did today and just try to be better."
While who gets the roster spot is between he and Kluwe, King says he doesn't even think about it in those terms.
"I feel like every punter and kicker comes with something different," said King. "We're all like X-men. You got Wolverine that fights with his claws, you got Cyclops that shoots fire with his eyes, everybody brings something different."
Asked what his super power was, he said "Power. . . I can hit high and long punts." I suggested then that he is like Colossus to which he laughed and said "Somewhat."
Like any super hero, he has his strengths and he has his weaknesses. His weaknesses last year were his get-off time, directional punting, and consistency. And, of course, fear. He has been working hard on all of those weaknesses to try and turn them into strengths. There is one area in which he says is the biggest change between last year and this year....
"Confidence. It's crazy, man. I know for a fact I would kind of be scared of what everybody would think if I hit a bad punt and I've gotten to the point where I don't care what nobody thinks because this is what I do. I'm a professional at what I do and I know for a fact that if my coach tells me to do this or that, I can do it as long as I got it in my head that I'm gonna do it."
Chris Kluwe doesn't lack for confidence either. But as confident as he is in himself, he has seen enough from King to feel pretty confident about him as well.
"I think I've shown that I can still punt at a level that I've been punting at for the last eight years," said Kluwe Like I said, if we both go out and play to the best of our abilities then I am 100% confident we both have jobs when the season starts."
With the way the two of them have been punting this preseason, I can buy the idea that both of them will be on an NFL roster this season, regardless of which team that is. Be it the Raiders, X-men, The Avengers, Super Friends, or otherwise.