This week, Marshall Faulk wants to know about each team's unsung hero. In other words, which Detroit Lions player has made the biggest impact yet has received the least amount of recognition?
Personally, I'm going with punter and kickoff specialist Sam Martin. With the Lions defense playing so well and the offense struggling so much, field position has become even more important than usual, and Martin has played a big role in that aspect of the game. Case in point: Martin is tied for sixth in the NFL in yards per punt (46.7), and he's eighth in net punting average (41.0) and third in punts downed inside the 20-yard line (21). What's more, of Martin's 43 kickoffs this year, only 11 have actually been returned.
To go a step beyond the stats, Martin is also quite highly ranked on Pro Football Focus. Among kickoff specialists, Martin is tied for fourth with a +8.2 grade. And among punters, Martin is third with a +20.4 grade. Quite simply, he's making a large impact on multiple aspects of special teams, and he's really having a Pro Bowl-caliber season. He hasn't exactly received a ton of recognition given the position he plays, but he's the Lions' unsung hero in my book.
What do you think?