Punter consistently mediocre

Punter B.J. Sander was a model of consistency in Green Bay's 21-3 loss to the Seahawks at Lambeau Field Monday night, but that's not necessarily a good thing.<p>

Sander had 10 punts for 365 yards - never straying far from his 36.5-yard average including four 35-yarders. Sometimes those medium distance kicks found their target, sometimes they missed by a long shot.

"I struggled to find the groove a little bit. I hit some good balls, I hit some bad balls, I just need to start hitting more good balls than bad balls," Sander said.

Head coach Mike Sherman agreed.

"We certainly gave him some opportunities tonight, more than I would have cared to," Sherman said. "But he put one down on the 11-yard line. He had a great one backed up and a couple other ones that weren't great. I thought he was 50-50 on his punts.

"He needs to learn how to punt the ball at Lambeau Field," Sherman said. "I believe he is a good punter. He just needs to work though some issues."

Looking to erase last week's disappointing scrimmage performance, the third-round draft pick out of Ohio State started strong with a first punt of 35 yards. The effort bettered Sander's average from the scrimmage, but this time the distance was beside the point as he pinned the Seahawks with perfect placement at the 10, where Seattle's Maurice Morris made a fair catch.

"I wanted to have a good showing, and the first punt went real well, so I thought 'here we go.' I was real happy with that," Sander said. "If I can get a guy to fair catch the ball every time, I'll take it," Sander said. "I just have to work on getting in that groove."

Facing the opposite scenario the next time up, Sander hit a high 39-yarder, again with no return. He followed with a pair of mediocre 35-yarders and a 36-yarder, all from fairly deep in Packer territory.

Sander finally broke out of his rut with a still-unspectacular 44 yarder after Green Bay's 3-and-out early in the third quarter, only to follow it up with his worst effort of the evening, a 31-yarder that put Seattle near midfield.

With his back against the wall, Sander had a chance to show what he could do from the back of the end zone. This time the rookie met with some success, as his 41-yarder dug the Packers out of the end zone, but not out of their own territory. Sammy Moore managed a 1-yard return to set Seattle up on the Green Bay 46.

Sander said he was satisfied with the end zone effort, which he counted among his highlights.

"Either that one or my first one was (the best of the night)," he said. "I thrive on when we come out of the end zone because I know the pressure is on."

One factor in Sander's favor was his hang-time. Seattle managed just a 5-yard average on their eight returns. Their longest run-back was a 15-yarder by Moore, which was aided by a missed tackle.

On the down side, Sander missed plenty of opportunities to show his power as the game progressed. With the exception of the opening field goal drive and their final plays of each half, all the Packer possessions culminated in a punt and 9 of those 10 ended in Green Bay territory. Still he only broke the 40-yard mark twice.

Sander felt he performed slightly better than last during the scrimmage, where he suffered through two shanks and was overshadowed by Aussie newcomer Nathan Chapman, who did not punt Monday night.

"I felt it was a little bit better," Sander said. "As long as I can get better each day I'll be where I want to be. We have three more games to get myself ready for the season, hopefully I'll be ready." Thrust into the spotlight by a draft spot rarely afforded a kicker, Sander said the only pressure he feels comes from himself.

"I have very high expectations of myself. If I can attain my goals, I'm pretty sure (the coaches) will be happy.

It's a long season. We're only one game in we have 19 left to go, hopefully more than that. It just takes practice. I'll watch this film and learn from it and move on."

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