Just over nine weeks ago, legendary Eagle Donovan McNabb’s number five was retired on Lincoln Financial Field. The Eagles first “Donny Football” was cemented into team history. Though punter Donnie Jones won’t see his jersey hung up at the Linc, his contributions have clearly saved the Eagles on multiple occasions, much like McNabb’s did for ten glorious years.
In his most recent performance, the punting virtuoso sealed the victory for Philadelphia. Jones unleashed a punt near 70 yards long, sending the Redskins back to inside their own 20 yard line. Washington drove down the field in slick fashion; however, Robert Griffin threw an ill-advised pass up into the evening sky. Awaiting its cop was cornerback Brandon Boykin, who secured the ball to ice the game. While fans heralded Boykin’s heroics, few can deny that Donnie Jones’ clutch performance was any less important.
In the big picture, Donnie Jones has ascertained a level of consistency foreign to Philadelphia sports. Jones has averaged 45.4 yards per punt, with his longest being the 70-yard kick that was heard down in Maryland. Jones has left opponents staring at 85 and 90 yard fields, downing the ball inside the 20 on 22 occasions.
Overall, 38.6 percent of Jones’ punts have landed inside the 20. This number is astonishing, and proves that the defense has been aided by excellent field position. In fact, Jones’ punts have netted 40.9 yards in the field position battle on average. Nearly half the field is added on to the Eagles’ field position in transferal from offense to defense.
The Eagle defense has seen an idiosyncratic improvement in recent weeks. This may partly be due to exemplary punting from the NFL’s Donnie Football. As fans prepare for Thanksgiving, the Eagles defense will be saying thanks to the leg of one Donnie Jones come Thursday evening.