Dave Reginek/Getty Images
2011 Kicking/Punting Stats
Jason Hanson:10-of-10 FG (3-of-3 from 50-plus yards), 15-of-15 XP
Ryan Donahue: 23 punts, 45.0 Yards per punt
2010 Kicking/Punting Stats
Jason Hanson: 6-of-8 FG, 8/8 XP
Nick Harris: 21 punts, 39.2 Yards per punt
I would compare return yardage, but it seems unfair, given the kickoff rule change. And punt returns are not statistically different this year than last.
There are two things I want to point out here. One is that Jason Hanson's injury, surgery, half-season off and the ensuing lockout might be the best series of things that could have happened to him in the late stages of his career.
Hanson started out looking a bit fatigued and shaky last year. This year, not only is he booming his kickoffs farther (even taking the rule change into effect), but he is more accurate on field goals at any distance.
Hanson is on pace for a 2008-caliber year. And while that doesn't sound great, recall that 2008 was actually a career year for Hanson. He tied Morten Andersen's record for 50-plus yard field goals in a single season, and was two blocked kicks away from a perfect kicking year. Hanson is perfect so far this year, and is on pace to shatter the previous record by going 12-for-12 from 50-plus.
What makes this even more impressive is that he has a different holder than the one he's been working with for most of the last decade.
Ryan Donahue has not only been a flawless holder, but he's booming the ball on punts as well. Most of Donahue's punts this year have been either fair caught or downed inside the 20 (often both).
I wish the best to Nick Harris, but Donahue is proving that the Lions' decision to keep him over the veteran was more than just a cost-saving maneuver.
But to get back to my original point: Jason Hanson for Hall of Fame. Start the campaign now, thank me later.