Jake Camarda lofted 14 punts in the month of September. Nine of them traveled at least 50 yards, seven went at least 55 yards, five topped the 60-yard mark and, remarkably, two didn't land until they were more than 70 yards downfield. Turns out that kind of pure kicking power will get you noticed.
On Thursday, the NFL named Camarda, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' second-year punter, it's NFC Special Teams Player of the Month. This comes on the heels of his Special Teams Player of the Week Award in Week Two, for a performance against the Chicago Bears that, arguably, wasn't significantly different from how he performed in Week One and Week Three.
Camarda is the first Buccaneers player to win an NFC Special Teams Player of the Month Award in more than a decade, following the honor taken by linebacker Dekoda Watson in November of 2022. His is the ninth STPOTM award snagged by a Buccaneer in the history of the award, and he is just the second punter on the list. Josh Bidwell also won it in November of 2006, during a season in which he became the first – and still only – Tampa Bay punter to earn an invitation to the Pro Bowl.
Through three weeks, Camarda has recorded an NFL-best gross punting average of 54.9 yards, and his lowest average in any game in that span was 52.8. He also had outstanding net punting averages of 48.2 and 47.8 yards in the Bucs' two season-opening wins before some coverage misses on Monday night dropped that mark to 37.3 against the Eagles. Overall, his net punting average of 44.9 yards still ranks fifth in the NFL among players with at least 10 punts.
Camarda's impact on field position hasn't been limited to booming 60-yarders. He's also dropped seven punts inside the opponents' 20-yard line, which ranks third in the NFC. On the seven punts that he's had returned, the average starting drive position for the opposition has been their own 20-yard line.
Camarda's 74-yard punt against the Eagles on Monday night is tied for the longest by any kicker in the NFL and it also matched the longest punts in Buccaneers franchise history. Camarda also had a 74-yarder in his rookie season, equaling the record first set by Sean Landeta in 1997. Along with his 72-yard blast against the Bears, Camarda already owns three of the four longest punts in Buccaneer annals.
The Buccaneers selected Camarda out of Georgia with a fourth-round pick in 2022, taking him in the 133rd spot overall. He justified that selection as a rookie, shattering the team's single-season record for gross punting average at a 48.8-yard clip. His 41.6-yard net average that season also ranked as the second-best in franchise history. Camarda has now punted 93 times over his first 20 NFL games; his current 49.8-yard gross punting average ranks second in NFL history among players with at least 90 career punts and his 42.1-yard net average ranks seventh.