There were a lot of exciting NFL debuts for the Eagles in Sunday’s 32-6 season-opening win over the Falcons in Atlanta.
Don’t you dare forget about the punter.
Because in the excitement over DeVonta Smith and Kenny Gainwell and Milton Williams and even the excitement over Nick Sirianni’s first game as a head coach and Jonathan Gannon’s first game as a defensive coordinator, it would be easy to overlook the 28-year-old Australian making his first NFL appearance.
How did Arryn Siposs do?
Well, special teams coordinator Michael Clay said he thought Siposs did a “phenomenal job.” And the numbers backed that up.
Siposs in his first meaningful NFL action had four punts averaging 47.3 yards with a long of 54 and downed three inside the 20. Those three pinned the Falcons at their own 8, 14 and 8 and the Falcons on those ensuing drives picked up a total of one first down. The Eagles cruised to a 32-6 win.
It really was a great start for Siposs, but it didn’t surprise Clay.
“I kind of felt this from the first day I met Arryn working with him, first time working with him in rookie minicamp,” Clay said, “Arryn’s a different type of person in terms of he's not a rookie in terms of the age. He's not 21, he's not 22, he's 28. He's dealt with real-life situations.
“It was never any nerve things I was worried about with him. He always comes ready to prepare Wednesday, Thursday, when we have our big punt days, and it just paid off.”
Siposs, 28, is a product of Prokick Australia, the same program that produced Seattle’s Michael Dickson, San Fransico’s Mitch Wishnowsky and Siposs’s predecessor Cameron Johnston.
It looks like the program has churned out another good one.
Siposs went undrafted last year out of Auburn and spent the entire 2020 season with the Lions on their practice squad. That means he’s technically not a rookie this year and Siposs feels like that year around an NFL team did wonders for him. He also said he felt more at home in the NFL because his teammates are finally closer to his age. He was the old guy in college.
The Eagles signed Siposs to a futures deal in January but at that time still hoped to have Johnston back. But when the Texans offered Johnston a three-year, $8 million contract, the Eagles went to their backup plan.
And they never deviated.
Despite how much of an unknown they had in Siposs, they showed faith in him and never brought in any competition. Maybe they were keeping an eye on the rest of the punter situations across the league, but it never appeared like Siposs was fighting for his job.
That faith in Siposs paid off in Week 1.
Siposs’s average of 47.3 yards is the third-highest ever for an Eagle in his first NFL game behind just Johnston (52.2) in 2018 and Mike Horan (50.20) back in 1984.
The Eagles are on a nice little run of punters — and this is a position you don’t think about until you have a bad one. They had Donnie Jones from 2013-17 and then Johnston from 2018-2020. One guy was the punter from the Super Bowl season and the other holds Eagles’ records career gross average, career net average, single season gross and single season net.
These are big shoes for Siposs to fill. But he got off to a really good start.
“I’m just really happy for him,” Clay said. “I know he's been working really hard to get to this spot, his first real NFL game. He really performed to the level that we all know he can.
“There are still some things he can get better at and he knows that and that's the best part about it. He's going to be able to build off this game and hopefully keep getting better and better.
“He can really be a very, very good punter in this league if he just keeps doing what he's been doing the last month and a half here in training camp in the first week.”
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