JACKSONVILLE – Senior writer John Oehser spent time with punter Brad Nortman this week and asked three questions following his memorable Jaguars debut in the 2016 regular-season opener
The topic:The memorable debut
The background:Nortman, who signed with the Jaguars as unrestricted free agent from Carolina in the offseason, played his first regular-season game with his new team Sunday. He punted twice for a 62.5-yard average with both punts downed at the three-yard line. Both punts led to Jaguars points after the defense forced immediate Green Bay Packers punts.
The quote:"(Laughing) That's what I'm going to strive for – to set the bar high. It's hard to do better when you're given just two reps. It's hard to put your defense in a better spot and hit a better ball than that. I was happy about it and happy we put the offense and defense in a good spot. I don't expect 62.5-yard averages inside the 5 every week, but we'll take it as a good start."
The topic:The feeling
The background: Nortman was asked the feeling when back-to-back kicks travel 58 and 67 yards and are downed at the three, respectively – pretty much the "punter's high," right?
The quote:"(Laughing) It's a really great feeling. It's the equivalent of a golfer putting it within a foot of the cup – something like that. You just feel good; everything synched up. It went exactly the way you saw it going and visualize it going, so it feels really good. It feels even better when the defense gets a three-and-out and it leads to a score. That's the ultimate completion of the feeling. Not every week will be a situation where I can have that much impact, but the punt is an important play. I tell people it's the only play where you go out there and it's a guaranteed negative play preceding it. It's something where you can go out there and you can help turn the tide and momentum back to your favor. I like to have the punt play be a positive play for our team every time."
The topic:Comparing between his former team and new team
The background:The Panthers twice had losing seasons in Nortman's time with the team – 2012 and 2014, then went from a 7-8-1 record in 2014 to 15-1 and the Super Bowl in 2015. Nortman was asked about possible comparisons between the Jaguars and Panthers.
The quote:"I like how aggressive we are, and I like how we go out to win and not to lose. I think that's going to really pay dividends down the line. There are similarities. When I walked into Carolina, we were 7-9 my first year. To be able to see the talent come together was really great to see. I think the same thing can be said here. There's a lot of talent in the room and it just takes time for everyone to mesh and come together. When it happens, it can be really special. It can be the same thing here and it's one of the main reasons I signed here."