While waiting for a call from an NFL team, punter Braden Mann was practicing at any field he could find. When he finally got the call, he could not have asked for a better opportunity.
"I am glad I got the call from Philadelphia," Mann said.
After the Eagles cut veteran punter Arryn Siposs following a Week 2 win over the Minnesota Vikings, the team worked out numerous punters with Mann sticking out the most.
Mann joined the Eagles three weeks into the 2023 season
The punter was originally signed to the practice squad, being elevated to the active roster for three straight games. When his three elevations expired, the Eagles were confident in the punter's abilities and signed him to the active roster.
Mann's mentality was always the same, no matter what his standing was on the roster.
"I am always trying to do my best," Mann said. "You can still be replaced whether you are on the practice squad or active roster. For me, it did not really change much. I was preparing the same way as I normally would have during a season."
The 25-year-old spent the first few weeks of the regular season without a team after being cut by the Pittsburgh Steelers, but now he has found a new home in the City of Brotherly Love.
Through his first three games in Midnight Green, Mann averaged 40.6 yards per punt, booting the ball just once in his debut for 38 yards.
However, those numbers are misleading. All five of those punts were from the Philadelphia 40-yard line and forward. Three of those punts pinned the opposition within their own 20-yard-line.
Once Mann was signed to the active roster, he significantly elevated his play.
Since Week 6, Mann is averaging 51.7 yards per punt (3rd in NFL). He has also registered a 44.3 net punting average in that span (6th in NFL).
"I definitely got more comfortable with everyone here and the guys that I work with," Mann said. "I trust the guys. So far, it has been really good."
Over his 10 games with the team, Mann is ninth in the league in yards per punt (49.2), the highest mark of his four-year career. He is one of four punters in the league to have just one touchback.
A major factor in Mann's success has been Special Teams Coordinator Michael Clay.
"He has been great," Mann said. "He lets me do what I do. He is not trying to change what I do; he is trying to make it work how I punt, which lets me be as comfortable as I can be back there."
The third-year coordinator's unit has been a strong feature of the 10-win Eagles.
Mann has been one of the many players who have contributed on special teams this season.
While his main job is to punt, Mann is also the holder for kicker Jake Elliott. The seven-year kicker has converted a career-high 91.3 percent field goal attempts this year.
"I think Braden's done a really good job since he got here," Clay said. "He's continually got better as we've moved forward; he's just being a lot more comfortable within himself. The communication we have throughout the game has been really crystal clear. He's going out there, playing really confident, and allowing our guys to go down there and make some plays in coverage."