How much better can New York Giants punter Riley Dixon, who at times was the team’s best player a season ago, get? Let’s take a closer look.
Age: 27 when season begins
Experience: 4 seasons
Contract: Year 1 of three-year, $8.7 million contract | Guaranteed: $3.07 million: 2020 cap hit: $2.785 million
How he got here
Dixon was acquired by the Giants prior to the 2018 season in a trade with the Denver Broncos, with the Giants giving up a seventh-round pick. That has been a good move for the Giants as Dixon has done a solid job and continues to look like an ascending player at his position.
Dixon’s 46.1 yards per punt average in 2019 was the best of his career. That, though, is not always the best way to judge a punter. Dixon had a career-best 29 punts downed inside the opponents’ 20-yard line despite punting a career-low 69 times. That’s 42 percent. He also had a career low in touchbacks with only two punts going into the end zone.
Those numbers point to growing consistency in Dixon’s ability to place the ball, while also recognizing that credit must be given to gunners like Cody Core and former Giant Antonio Hamilton.
I spoke to Dixon last season about his improvement.
“For me it’s a maturity process. I think just like anything time makes you learn the ins and outs of the game more and what’s required,” Dixon said. “I just think over time the game makes a lot more sense mentally. I just have a better understanding of my job.
“It’s just learning how to be effective. I’m only one guy, I’ve got 10 other guys out there covering. Just learning that it’s my job to put them in a position to win.”
The Giants have a lineage of quality punters. Dave Jennings, Sean Landeta, Jeff Feagles, Steve Weatherford for a time. Dixon could be on his way to joining them.