EVERY year I repeat this one. We never do it, and we always should. (Every team should, actually.) Fuck it. I will bang this pot until someone hears me! There is no tactical advantage to using a Punter to hold on Field Goal attempts. Unless you’re Pat McAfee or Sav Rocca, you probably don’t offer much as an athlete on a football field. A back-up QB however, offers plenty.
A QB playing holder makes every FG attempt a potential opportunity for a fake. While that can be said of anyone holding, a QB’s ability to deliver ball (even under pressure), makes that potential fake all the more dangerous, and all the more real.
The most important thing it does, is it forces teams to focus on covering both Ends and both Wings, instead of trying to block a kick. Wait. Let me back up.
Because Special Teams is so rarely talked about, most people don’t know the positions. The five members of the line are T, G, C, G, T. That part you already knew. Outside of the T’s are the TE’s. Still pretty standard stuff. The players outside of the TE’s are Wing Backs (WB). Usually those are WR’s or RB’s who are good blockers, because the emphasis is on protection.
While there are always six players eligible to catch a pass on any FG attempt, not having a player that can deliver a pass, makes that threat practically toothless. Unless someone isn’t covered. A QB on the field however, gives the offense (and that’s still what it is), a player who can routinely deliver an accurate pass, even to a covered man, even with pressure in his face. No P can match that.
I’ve spent years saying that we should use WR Greg Ward as the Holder, given his QB background, and his WR legs. However, if we were to trot QB Gardner Minshew out there, opponents would think “Well what the happy fuck, is this horseshit?” At which point their focus is more on making sure that our TE’s and WB’s don’t get loose for six, than on giving up three.
And after all that, after everything you just read, you just read the REAL payoff. It’s a more relaxed Kicker who doesn’t feel like he needs to rush, because the defense is trying harder to cover, than they are to block. What would relaxing K Jake Elliott be worth to you? Yet all it would cost, is swapping out a P for a QB. That’s it.
And of course, every so often we can actually run a fake. Just to let opponents know that they need to be afraid, and stay that way.