Jon Ryan is in a zone.
He’s the only punter in the Seahawks’ training camp, and the former Winnipeg Blue Bomber and Green Bay Packer is displaying why there was no need to add another.
In Saturday night’s preseason opener against the Chargers in San Diego, Ryan averaged 52.4 yards on eight punts, with a long of 77 yards and a net average of 41.1 yards.
The club record for gross average in a game is 55.4 yards by Rick Tuten in 1996, and he also holds the marks for longest punt (73 yards in 1995) and net average (38.7 yards in 1992).
So Ryan got close to one, and bettered the other two – although preseason efforts don’t qualify as team records.
But you get the point. The redhead from Regina, Saskatchewan, is rooting the ball as well as – and better than – the player they called Bootin’ Tuten.
As if his performance against the Chargers wasn’t impressive enough, Ryan then drew cheers from the fans in attendance at Monday’s practice as he launched a series of soaring punts.
Asked if he has ever had a punter cheered in a training camp practice, veteran special teams coach Bruce DeHaven said, “Never. Until today, that is.”
But as one of those cheering fans along the fence put it, “Sure we cheered. The dude was awesome.”
Ryan’s success in his first training camp with the Seahawks should not come as a surprise. After signing with the team last September, he produced the best single-season gross average in club history (45.6 yards) and the second-best marks for net average in a season (37.9) and gross average in a game (53.4 against the 49ers).