The role of a gunner in football is critical. Punt returning is one of the most entertaining and dangerous plays in football. That is because of the role of the gunner. The gunner can lay out an opponent with a swift hit on a dead sprint, but they can also hit an opponent with such force that endangers their safety.
What is a gunner in football?
A gunner is a member of the special team in charge of getting down the field and tackling the kick returner on kicking plays. Gunners need to be fast and intelligent.
- Gunners are in whenever a team punts or kickoffs.
- The main goal of gunners is to deny the receiving team an opportunity to return the kick for much yardage.
- Gunners are technically considered wide receivers on punting plays and are the only players allowed to pass the line of scrimmage before the punt.
- A gunner is also known as a flyer, headhunter, and kamikaze.
What do gunners do?
Gunners line up towards each sideline. Once the ball is snapped on punts or kicked on kickoffs, they sprint down the field and try to get to the kick returner to avoid significant kick returns. They try to evade the kick-returning team’s blockers and attempt to tackle the kick-returner once he gets the ball.
What is the goal of a gunner?
The goal of a gunner is to prevent big returns on punts and kickoffs. On punts, they try to tackle the returner once he has the ball. If the return team lets the ball go, the gunner is in charge of making sure the ball travels as far as possible before stopping it without touching the end zone. When done well, gunners can deliver some of the game’s greatest hits.
How many gunners are on the field?
There are two gunners on the field on punts. One near each sideline can flee the line of scrimmage once the ball is snapped. These two gunners are almost always the first two players down the field to tackle the punt or kick returner.
Where do gunners line up?
Gunners line up on the line of scrimmage close to both of the sidelines. One gunner will be on one side, and the other gunner will be on the other. It is pretty common for both gunners to be double-teamed on punts. If that is the case, they may need to beat the blockers by going towards the middle of the field.
See Definition of Pass Interference.
Double Teaming the Gunners Video
Do gunners play other positions?
Gunners do usually have other positions. A lot of times, they will be backup wide receivers or cornerbacks. Matthew Slater, a three-time Super Bowl champion and nine-time Pro Bowl selection, has spent his entire career with the New England Patriots and is known as one of the best gunners in the NFL.
Common penalties on gunners
Being a gunner takes a lot of awareness and can be very difficult because of all the situations that can arise. Among the situations are penalties for interfering with the kick returner before he has a chance to catch the ball. If the gunner commits this infraction, the receiving team will get an additional 15 yards.
You’re on our A Gunner in Football: Role and Responsibilities page.
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