Before every Rams game, punter Johnny Hekker quickly slips an extra element into his preparation.
Hekker stands at midfield and lightly tosses a pass to a Rams staff member. Next he rolls to his right and unleashes one down the sideline, rolls left and throws a dart, leans onto his back foot and lobs the ball 40 yards.
Then Hekker returns to ripping punts. He is, after all, only the Rams’ emergency quarterback.
“That’s really the only preparation I do,” Hekker said. “A few fake handoffs, a few tosses, then I just pray I never have to go in.”
Hekker’s role as emergency quarterback is similar to his role as punter:...