TFG Questionnaire: Rams Punter Johnny Hekker is Much More Than Just ‘The Weapon’
When Bill Belichick held his weekly conference call with reporters ahead of last December’s game against the Rams, he wildly gushed about one opposing player: the punter.
Hekker is a tremendous weapon, this guy is as good a player as I’ve ever seen at that position. He’s a tremendous weapon in his ability to punt the ball, punt it inside the 20, directional kick it, involved in fakes, can throw, can run, very athletic. He’s dangerous. He’s like a quarterback. He can throw. He can run. You gotta defend him like you defend one of those guys.
Hekker has played for the Rams since 2012 and is widely considered the best at his position. Last season Hekker nailed 51 punts inside the 20 (by far the most in the NFL), while also leading the league with an average net of 46 yards.
But Hekker is much more than a strong leg. Notorious for an engaging sense of humor and prankster ways, he is a social media rock star.
Hekker was the perfect NFL player to take our inaugural TFG Questionnaire – part football, part Proust with a side of weirdness. We caught up at Rams camp at U.C. Irvine Monday after he completed an impromptu marathon autograph session, because he really is that popular.
In a well-done first-person for The Player’s Tribune, you wrote that as a punter you were the “bathroom-break song” at a concert. What is the quintessential bathroom break song at a concert you’re attending?
It’s got to be a 10-minute jam session during a Dave Matthews song, one of those where they all take turns stepping out on the giant throw rug with a couple minutes of bars. You know when you hear it start that you have to go because you’ve got some time.
Who is your favorite writer?
Michal Pollan. He does nutritional books and can make complex things pretty digestible.
3 weeks or so into training and you’re feeling…
Because we have a great opportunity to improve as a team and we’ve already taken some great steps.
Bill Belichick essentially nicknamed you The Weapon. Give him a nickname that’s not The Hoodie.
I’d just call him The Schmur because I feel like he’s always just saying schmur, schmur.
The most 30-something thing about Sean McVay is…
His hair. I love his hair. He is 30-something, absolutely.
Best way to beat doldrums of camp.
I get together with our long snapper and kicker and we like to play board games like Settlers of Catan and Yahtzee, plus some FIFA on the Xbox. It’s nice to be competing in areas outside of football because we’re not the most physically dominating specimens
If you could come back to earth as a person or thing, what would it be?
I’d probably want to be an eagle so I could fly around and observe and have a nice above ground view of things.
Favorite Twitter follow.
[Rams long snapper] Jack McQuade. He doesn’t tweet often but when he does he has some great things to say.
What’s the best thing on your DVR?
Impractical Jokers. If you don’t know about it, check it out.
Who plays you in a movie?
Ron Howard or Shaun White. They have to be a redhead. White because he’s younger and the other guy is really old.
What’s the plot?
A really underdog story. A guy overcomes some odds and changes the world by the end of it for the better.
First thing you’d change about the NFL if you could.
I’d eliminate overtime in preseason games.
Modernize the saying “punters are people, too.”
Punters are extraordinary people, too. Maybe eliminate the ‘too’ so it’s known that other people are not extraordinary but we are.
One word to describe you.
Fun-loving. Sorry that was two words.
In closing, how about your impression of that iconic line from The Shining. You know the one.