‘I Thrive in Competition’ – Brad Robbins Welcomes Bengals Bringing in UDFA Punter

The Cincinnati Bengals are bringing in Texas Tech punter Austin McNamara to compete with Brad Robbins after Robbins' underwhelming rookie debut.

CINCINNATI – It wasn’t a matter of if, but when for Cincinnati Bengals punter Brad Robbins.

Special teams coordinator Darrin Simmons told the media there would be a punting competition this offseason, and he told Robbins the same thing after the 2023 sixth-round pick had an underwhelming rookie season.

The Bengals didn’t draft a punter, but they are bringing in Texas Tech’s Austin McNamara as part of their undrafted free agent class.

Bengals Bringing in Austin McNamara To Battle Brad Robbins

“Talking to my agents, talking to my parents, talking to everybody, I just assume they’re going to bring in somebody every year,” Robbins said Monday morning as the team began the third week of the offseason program.

“That’s the way I’m going to approach everything,” Robbins added. “You have to constantly prove it’s your job. I don’t care if I average 60 yards a punt; someone is probably gonna come in and try to take the job.

As a rookie, Robbins averaged 44.3 yards per punt, ranking 31 among 33 qualified punters. His net average of 40.1 ranked 26th.

“I’ve worked a lot on being more directional, but the main thing I worked on was getting a consistent miss further,” Robbins said.

“With punting, you’re measured by your misses. I felt I was just hitting the same ball, or trying to, every time. But I realized it’s a different game. It’s OK to sacrifice some hang time for more distance if you have a lot of field to work with, to give your defense the best possible chance of stopping their offense.”

Robbins ranked in the upper half of the NFL, tied for 13th in touchback percentage, but he said the five he sent into the end zone among his 76 attempts were still too many.

Robbins’ 2023 season had plenty of peaks and valleys, but he said he felt as though he got better deeper into his rookie campaign.

“It’s very much like investments,” he said. “Stocks are never just a straight line going up. The positive stocks are going up, coming down slightly, going back up, that type of deal. I’m comparing it to that. I felt like there was a lot of positive, there was a decent amount of negative and everywhere in between.

“This offseason, I took a couple weeks off and got back to it,” he added. “I feel like I’m just going to get better and better. I’m feeling really confident.”

Spring competitions were an annual procedure for Robbins at the University of Michigan.

He won the starting job as a freshman three games into the season. After he got hurt prior to his sophomore season, his replacement — Will Hart — was a second-team All-American. Yet, Robbins eventually wrestled the job away from Hart late in the 2019 season and fought off all challengers in 2020, 2021, and 2022.

Last summer, Robbins beat out Drue Chrisman to win the Bengals job.

“I feel like I thrive in competition,” Robbins said. “My whole career has been competition. So I don’t shy away from that.”

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McNamara comes to Cincinnati after averaging 45.9 yards per punt at Texas Tech, breaking the school and Big 12 record. And the 45.9-yard average ranks 10th in NCAA history among punters with at least 150 attempts.

“I was in college for a long time, so I got to know a lot of the punters,” Robbins said. “I’ve DM’d Austin a few times, and we talked some when we were both in college. I don’t think we ever did any camps together, but I know him. He’s a good dude.”

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