Falcons coach Smith explains franchising of punter

It’s not all that often that a punter makes headlines, but the news that Atlanta was franchising punter Michael Koenen certainly got some attention.

He was just the second punter to ever receive the franchise tag and the first since Todd Sauerbrun in 1999.

Falcons head coach Mike Smith addressed the team’s decision to tag Koenen on Thursday at the combine, saying the punter was a “vital part of our success.”

Smith noted that Koenen handled the team’s kickoff duties and was highly productive at kicking the ball into the end zone.

Then Smith noted that the Falcons set one of the league’s most obscure records last season — fewest punt-return yards allowed in a season — and credited Koenen for that success.

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