The first three members of the Los Angeles Rams Bill Belichick mentioned in his media availability Thursday did not include Jared Goff, Todd Gurley, or even Aaron Donald.
They were defensive coordinator Wade Phillips, kicker Greg Zuerlein and four-time Pro Bowler Johnny Hekker, a punter Belichick has always been captivated by.
"Yeah, again, he's a weapon on the field," Belichick said. "He can change field position and he’s a good situational punter and obviously he’s very athletic. You have to respect his ability to handle the ball. I think the main thing when you sent your punt return team out there is you want to make sure you get the ball at the end of the play. That’s not always that difficult but with these guys it’s pretty challenging. As I said, they’re all weapons. Zuerlein’s a weapon, Hekker’s a weapon. They do a good job in the return game."
This isn't new for Belichick. In November of 2016, the last time the Rams and Patriots played each other, Belichick couldn't stop using the word "weapon" to describe Hekker.
Hekker is a tremendous weapon. I mean, this guy is as good a player as I've ever seen at that position. He's a tremendous weapon in his ability to punt the ball, punt it inside the 20, directonal kick it, involved in fakes, can throw, can run, very athletic . . . He's dangerous. Absolutely. He's like a quarterback. He can throw. He can run. You gotta defend him like you defend one of those guys.
He most certainly can throw. Hekker most recently completed a pass on a fake punt to give the Rams a crucial first down in the NFC Championship game. Los Angeles is notorious for its creative special teams plays, so it's possible we see the Rams try something in the Super Bowl.
Belichick loves punters, Hekker especially. It makes you wonder how much he would give up in a trade for the 28-year-old punter.
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