Marquette King --- who Wednesday was named the AFC special teams player of the week for the first time in his career- is becoming one of the better punters in the NFL in his third season with the Oakland Raiders.
What most stands out about King’s development is his improvement with his touch. He is no longer known as just a cannon-legged boomer. With one game remaining, King has set a Raiders franchise record (the stat started being counted in 1976, according to the Associated Press) with 35 punts inside the 20-yard line. That’s pretty impressive considering the Raiders’ history is rich with punters, featuring Ray Guy (the only true punter to be elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame) and Shane Lechler, who is considered one of the best punters ever to play.
For the second time this season, ESPN Stats & Information named King as the NFL punter of the week for Week 16. King punted eight times against San Diego, six in the second half resulting with the Chargers getting possession inside the 20. The Raiders went on to win in overtime.
Oakland coach Jack Del Rio was thrilled with King’s effort, just as he has been all season.
“I think he’s a young player that is gaining confidence. He is certainly still developing. He is a player that has a lot of raw talent that is still refining himself,” Del Rio said. “He should have room to grow and continue to ascend as a player in this league, but he’s done a nice job. He’s worked hard at his craft. I think [special-teams coordinator] Coach [Brad] Seely working on the hands and catching the ball and the placement and all those things, all the duties that are aside from just kicking the ball and kicking it as far as you can.
"He has learned how to directional punt some. He’s still not entirely comfortable with the idea, but he’s getting better at it. He’s certainly gotten better at not just pounding the ball into the end zone and having touchbacks where we have an opportunity to really pin them down. So I think those are some of the areas where he’s made progress.”