Bon giorno from Colorado with a couple of statistical nuggets that I was going to get to last night before I got detoured into some behind-the-scenes site work …
TALKING PUNTERS: We touched upon the punting/kickoff competition in the Saturday night pregame entry, and here’s how Paul Ernster and Todd Sauerbrun now stand statistically with one game remaining:
AVERAGE LENGTH: Ernster 72.4 yards, Sauerbrun 69.5 yards (note — I counted the actual distance of Ernster’s game-opening wallop against Cleveland, which was approximately 85 yards, as it landed five yards behind the touchline in the back of the end zone).
TOUCHBACK PERCENTAGE: Ernster 50.0 percent, Sauerbrun 50.0 percent.
AVERAGE DRIVE-START POSITION AFTER KICKOFFS: Ernster DEN 25.5; Sauerbrun DEN 26.0.
SHORTEST KICKOFFS: Ernster 63 yards, Sauerbrun 61 yards.
AVERAGE LENGTH: Ernster 45.0 yards, Sauerbrun 40.4 yards
NET AVERAGE: Ernster 41.7, Sauerbrun 33.3
PUNTS INSIDE THE 20: Ernster 3, Sauerbrun 1.
TOUCHBACKS: Ernster 0, Sauerbrun 2.
SHORTEST PUNTS: Ernster 33 yards, Sauerbrun 15.
Ernster’s net punting average places him fifth in the league this preseason, behind Pittsburgh’s Mike Barr, Carolina’s Jason Baker, New Orleans’ Steven Weatherford and Houston’s Chad Stanley. His inside-the-20 percentage of 50.0 percent places him tied for sixth in the league among punters with at least 5 punts this preseason; Ernster has six so far. Sauerbrun’s statistics are based off of a total of nine punts.
CUTLER’S RANKING: After quarterback Jay Cutler’s solid night against the Browns on Saturday — 9-of-16 passing for 115 yards, a touchdown and a 99.7 passer rating — I wondered where he stood among his starting-quarterback brethren as far as his preseason passer rating.
The answer? Somewhere in the middle third.
Cutler’s preseason rating of 85.0 places him 18th among the starters, behind names like Peyton Manning, Matt Schaub and Matt Leinart but ahead of others such as Brett Favre, Ben Roethlisberger, Vince Young and Marc Bulger — whose 51.0 rating belies his lofty status in many fantasy-football drafts, where he is generally among the more coveted passers.
Here’s all the preseason passer ratings for the likely opening-day starters around the league:
Peyton Manning, Colts: 126.1
Philip Rivers, Chargers: 117.3
Jon Kitna, Lions: 115.0
Matt Leinart, Cardinals: 114.3
Matt Schaub, Texans: 113.4
Daunte Culpepper, Raiders: 112.2
Eli Manning, Giants: 111.3
Drew Brees, Saints: 107.5
Alex Smith, 49ers: 103.9
Carson Palmer, Bengals: 96.1
Matt Hasselbeck, Seahawks: 95.6
Steve McNair, Ravens: 92.6
Joey Harrington, Falcons: 92.5
Rex Grossman, Bears: 91.5
Tom Brady, Patriots: 91.1
Tony Romo, Cowboys: 89.7
Donovan McNabb, Eagles: 89.2
Jay Cutler, Broncos: 85.0
Vince Young, Titans: 83.6
Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers: 83.5
Brett Favre, Packers: 82.3
Jeff Garcia, Buccaneers: 81.5
Jason Campbell, Redskins: 81.4
Jake Delhomme, Panthers: 80.7
Byron Leftwitch, Jaguars: 77.3
Tarvaris Jackson, Vikings: 76.8
Charlie Frye, Browns: 76.6
J.P. Losman, Bills: 72.4
Chad Pennington, Jets: 51.6
Marc Bulger, Rams: 51.0
Trent Green, Dolphins: 47.9
Damon Huard, Chiefs: 29.6
One more practice later today, and we’ll have coverage … until then, vaya con Dios.