the study of the kicking components within sports

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

NFL Week Three K Quotes

Notable kicking quotes from around the NFL following week three of the 2009 season: 

This week's kicking quotes reinforce some basic norms. Kicking accuracy has improved over the year's to the point where perfection (or at least near perfection) is the expection. Kicking does not typically generate a lot of discussion. On those few occasions when it does, it is usually because a kicker missed...

Although Seattle's Olindo Mare made four FGs in the 25-19 loss to Chicago, he also missed two - from 43 and 34 yards. He did not avoid answering the obvious barage of questions following the game:
“You’re only supposed to do your job and I didn’t do it very well.... I’m more disappointed in the second one just because the wind was blowing that way. I don’t know if I have ever missed two [in a game]. You’re supposed to fix something if it’s wrong and I should have played it more to the right instead of aiming down the middle.... You go from losing the game to winning the game and then you lost it again. I blame myself for that and I feel bad for all the guys in here that worked so hard all week. Of all the things that I did do good, it’s the two bad things that stood out."
Seahawks' head coach Jim Mora Jr. expressed some displeasure with the misses in his post game press conference. While it was certainly not in the league of his father's legendary Diddley Poo Presser, it did receive a fair amount of coverage for the moment:
“There are no excuses for those. If you’re a kicker in the National Football League you should make those kicks – bottom line. End of story. Period. No excuses. No wind, doesn’t matter. You’ve gotta makes those kicks.... Especially in a game like this, where you’re kicking and fighting and scratching your tail off and you miss those kicks, it’s not acceptable. Not acceptable. Absolutely not acceptable.... We’ll look at changes everywhere. We’re not going to fight our ass off and have a field goal kicker go out there and miss to field goals and lose the game. Not going to happen.”
"I let the emotion of the game get to me in my answers about Olindo. I have very high, high expectations for Olindo. And it's because of the work that he has done in this league. He has been an outstanding kicker.... Would I like him to make those two kicks?. Yeah, but I wouldn't like him to make them any more than he'd like to make 'em.... When the question was directed it at me, I answered it honestly, but probably with just a little too much, you fill in the word."
Although it didn't impact a lop-sided win, the NY Giants Lawrence Tynes missed a short FG attempt for the second straight week. He expressed frustration:
“I wish I had an answer. I didn’t kick good all week, I didn’t kick good in pregame and I didn’t kick really good in the game. It was pretty much just a bad week all around for me.... I’ll figure it out. It’s frustrating because everyone is playing so well and I'm not. It’s very very frustrating.... I’ll be honest, I don’t think I've hit the ball great all year. I've made some kicks. It's frustrating. Hopefully I’ll figure it out because this team is playing so well and I'm not really pulling my weight."
Head coach Tom Coughlin, who has gone through numerous kickers during his coaching career, indicated that the team is not planning to look for a replacement kicker:
"Sometimes there is a little bit of adjustments that, for whatever reason, are going on. But you'd like to stick with what has been good for you, what you have practiced."

Monday, September 28, 2009

Special Passers II

Only two days after having posted Special Passers, another specialist has become more special. In the Buffalo Bills' game against New Orleans yesterday, punter Brian Moorman tied Lee Johnson and Brad Maynard's record of two career TD passes. Moorman, who also serves as the holder, rolled out on a fake FG attempt and threw a 25 yard TD strike to defensive end Ryan Denney.

Moorman said of the play:
“If an opportunity will present itself where you can run a play like that you are going to do it. [Kicker Rian Lindell] did a great job of selling the kick, and we ended up with two guys open.”
"I lined up in the wing position on [the] left-hand side. Rian [Lindell] fakes the kick so the defenders' attention is drawn to the block point, and Brian is able to roll out and make the pass.... We've had this in for a couple years and this was the first time we ran it."

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Big Kickers on Campus, week 4

A quick summary of notable kicking during the fourth week of the 2009 college football season:

Junior kicker Spencer Lanning kicked three FGs and had a big tackle on a punt return in South Carolina's 16-10 upset win over no. 4 Ole Miss.

Freshman kicker Jason Myers' PAT attempt with 48 seconds remaining was blocked as Bucknell held on to beat Marist 17-16. 

Senior kicker Kyle Watson's game tying 50 yard FG attempt with 1:18 remaining never happened as the hold was fumbled, and Wyoming held on for a 30-27 win over UNLV.

Senior kicker Steve Aponavicius' 23 yard FG in overtime gives Boston College 27-24 win over Wake Forest.

Junior kicker Davis Rodriguez's 28 yard FG in over time gives Lafayette 20-17 win over Penn.

Freshman kicker Kevin Morgan's 29 yard FG on the final play give Simpson a 30-28 victory over Buena Vista.

Kicker Harrison Ellison's 35 yard FG as time expired gave Concordia College a 23-21 victory over Savannah State.

Sophomore kicker Blair Walsh's 37 yard FG on the final play gave Georgia 20-17 victory over Arizona State.

Sophomore kicker Alex Romanias' 17 yard FG as time expired  gave Edinboro a 22-20 win over Gannon.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Special Passers

While kicking is the important part of football, every now and then a little passing has some merit. With that in mind, we take a quick look at some career passing bests by NFL kickers and punters since 1960. With apologies to George Blanda, this applies only to specialists and not anyone who moonlighted on offense. Stats are courtesy of Pro Football Reference.

Longest Passes
As could be expected, punters have the bigger numbers here, since they are typically working with a longer field than the kickers. The record belongs to Josh Miller, who threw an 81 yard TD pass on a fake punt in a defensive battle in the final week of the 2003 season. Although the play gave Pittsburgh the lead, Baltimore won the game in over time. Miller downplayed the throw afterwards:
"Schoolyard football. That's something you do when you have nothing to lose."
The longest pass by a kicker also came during the final week of a season. In 1978, Mike Wood tossed a 29 yarder for St. Louis.

Most Career TDs
No kicker ran away in this category, as four are tied for the record. Mike Wood, Ryan Longwell, Roger Ruzek, and Adam Vinatieri each compiled an impressive career total of one TD pass. Longwell's came in the fourth quarter as Minnesota tied the score against Carolina. The Vikings won the game in over time on a Longwell FG. He commented after the game:
"Ten years in, I finally got one."
Two prolific passing punters - Lee Johnson and Brad Maynard - are tied with two career touchdowns throws. Maynard has thrown passes both as a punter and as a holder on field goals.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

NCS Semi Finals

The National Kicking Combine is a series of competitions organized by former NFL kicker Michael Husted and conducted by various kicking coaches around the country. Top performers at each individual event advance to the next level. The 2009 Regionals and Semi-Finals have all been completed. All that remains is the Finals, which will be held in Tampa on January 9th.
"The Kicking Game is 85% mental and no matter how far or high someone can kick the ball, the big question is, 'Can YOU do it when the pressure is on.' The biggest difference between being successful at each level is the ability to perform under pressure. The Kicking Game has become so important over the last couple of years, that there is great emphasis on specialists to perform on a consistent basis."
The Detroit Semi-Finals were run by Top Recruit Kicking. The top placekickers were Mitchell Bredberg from Ada Michigan (Forest Hills Central High School) and Michael McGowan from Sylvania Ohio (St. Francis de Sales High School). Matt Eltringham (Loveland High School) and Joe Reifenberg (Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy), both from Loveland Ohio, led the way on kickoffs. The top punters were Kyle Pignatiello from Tipp City Ohio (Tippecanoe High School),  Joe Reifenberg, and Adam Schaffer from West Chester, Ohio (Moeller High School).

The Northeast Semi-Finals were run by Special Teams Solutions. The top placekickers were Brad Prasky (Groton HS-MA), James Devens (James Madison HS-VA), and Jake Smith (Milford Prep-NY). Anthony Cavallaro (Delaware Valley HS-PA) led the way on kickoffs. The top punters were Tyler Yonchiuk (East Brunswick HS-NJ) and Chris Mattos (Monroe HS-NJ).

The Tampa Semi-Finals were run by the Feely Kicking School. The top placekickers were Johnny Simone (Manatee Community College), Connor Goulding ( Gulf Coast High School, Naples Florida) and Matt Cass (Hampton High School, Hampton Virginia). Matthew Cappleman (West Orange High School, Orlando), Connor Goulding, and Johnny Simone led the way on kickoffs. The top punters were Tyler Feely (Jesuit High School, Tampa), Austin Cannon (Creek Side High School, Fruit Cove, Florida), and triple-threat Connor Goulding.

The Dallas Semi-Finals were run by Kicknation. The top kickers included Jake Craig of Lyons Kansas and Cody Mandell of Lafayette, LA. Chris Peoples from Vian, OK led the way on kickoffs. The top punters included Mark Fritz from Johnstown, PA. Cameron Frosch from Rowlett did well in all three groups.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

NFL Week Two K Quotes

Notable kicking quotes from around the NFL following week two of the 2009 season: 

When the Tennessee Titans' Rob Bironas missed two kicks in week one, it helped set up Pittsburgh Steelers' kicker Jeff Reed to win the game (which he did). In week two at Soldier Field, a similar scenario evolved. This time however, Reed was in the opposite role - missing FG attempts of 38 and 43 yards in the fourth quarter. Reed hasn't shied away from discussing the game, and has termed his performance embarrassing once and embarrassing twice.
"There's no excuse. I missed two kicks and basically what it was, I was trying too hard on both of them. That's what happens to a right-footed kicker -- you hook them.... I'm just embarrassed because these guys fought their tail off to win the game. If there's one player who can single-handedly lose a game, I'll take credit for it."
"Yeah, I am surprised [by the misses]. I strive for perfection. I don't think I kicked well at all today. My kickoffs were bad and I missed those two kicks.... It's embarrassing."
Reed's misses helped present Bears' kicker Robbie Gould with the opportunity to kick a 44 yard game winner with 15 seconds remaining. Gould made the FG.
“The biggest thing is that you’ve got to focus on what you have to do, go through your routine, and kick the best ball you possibly can hit.... I’m the final piece of the puzzle. Those guys [long snapper Patrick Mannelly and holder Brad Maynard] did their job, and I was lucky enough to make it.”
More than once during the preseason, kicker Neil Rackers ended up being the one to make the tackle on kickoff returns for Arizona. It happened twice again this week against the Jaguars. The Cardinals would obviously prefer that the coverage team make the tackles rather than the kicker. Head coach Ken Whisenhunt commented:
"We want him to stay out of there and let the other guys make the tackle, but it's hard to tell Neil that.... He's been kicking the ball very well for us, and you'd hate to lose him, but Neil is a physical football player that sees himself as a cover guy. . . . I have to say this, he's made some huge plays for us."
Over the years, punter Craig Hentrich has occasionally filled in as a kicker if needed. When he suffered a calf injury in the game against Houston, kicker Rob Bironas returned the favor. Bironas discussed his limited punting career:
"[In high school] I punted like seven times into a 40 mph wind. I think I got to punt with the wind one time and I think my average was like 25 or 30 yards.... {Against the Texans] I just wanted to get the snap caught and get the ball over the line. I got the roll I needed and the guys covered it, so it worked out all right."
Several times a year, the topic of "icing the kicker" inevitably arises. It came early this year, with Lawrence Tynes' twice-kicked 37 yard game winner on the final play of the Giants' win over the Cowboys. Dallas head coach Wade Phillips discussed his thinking:
"If it was a real long field goal I probably wouldn't [call a timeout] but since it was a shorter field goal and the chances are higher of him making it, I thought if he had to do it twice and we got to run over them one time maybe that would help us. And our second rush was pretty close. Now of course if he missed the first one, I'd still be hanging from the top of the deal. But you've got to decide what you want to do in that type of situation. That's basically what we decided. He's about 94 percent chance of making it so we've got to try to get a second rush is what we need to try to do."

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Big Kickers on Campus, week 3

A quick summary of notable kicking during the third week of the 2009 college football season: 

Sophomore kicker Erik Folk, younger brother of Dallas Cowboys kicker Nick Folk, made a 22-yard FG with 3 seconds remaining to give Washington a 16-13 stunning upset over third ranked USC. 

Junior kicker Richard Jackson tied a school record by making six FGs (23, 33, 32, 52, 42, and 35 yards) in Clemson's 25-7 win over Boston College. 

Jacksonville University kicker Donovan Curry missed a 52 yard FG attempt on the final play of the game as Old Dominion held on for 28-27 victory.

Sophomore kicker Alan Gendreau's 19 yard FG as time expired gave Middle Tennessee a 32-31 win over Maryland.

Freshman kicker Rainer Duzan's 45 yard FG in the second overtime gave Morehead State a 13-10 win over North Carolina Central.

Junior kicker Gordon Craig's 19 yard FG as time expired gave Dickinson a 45-43 win over Franklin & Marshall.

Junior kicker Nico Grasu's 39 yard FG goal in overtime gave Washington State 30-27 comeback win over Southern Methodist. 

Although Miami pulled off the upset with a 33-17 win over Georgia Tech, junior kicker Matt Bosher missed FG attempts of 26 and 31 yards. 

With starting kicker Thomas Weber a late scratch with a hip-flexor, freshman Bobby Wenzig handled the kicking (24 yard FG and five PATs) in Arizona State's 38-14 win over Louisiana-Monroe. 

Michigan State kicker Brett Swenson ties Dave Rayner's school record of consecutive PATs.

Freshaman kicker Ryan Lichtenstein's 41 yard FG on the final play gave Syracuse a 37-34 win over Northwestern.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Mason Crosby's Abdomen

Like anyone in the public eye, NFL football players are under the constant scrutiny of the media, with every little detail of their life receiving full attention. With that in mind, we proudly present Mason Crosby's abdomen. The Green Bay Packers kicker experienced abdominal soreness earlier this week, and was subsequently held out of practice for several days as a precaution. He resumed practicing on Friday and is expected to play in this week's game against Cincinnati. Although that covers the basic story (or non-story), some of the related details do touch on matters of interest to kickologists.

Although Crosby could very likely have practiced all week, when a team is spending a six or seven figure salary on a player, they want to make sure that he is  ready to play on Sundays when it counts. As Crosby noted:
“It’s like an arm on a quarterback. Anything in that area, they want to be safe. Just making sure it’s nothing serious.”
It was suggested during the week that the aggravated abdomen resulted from Crosby having kicked extensively during training camp and the preseason. It is often a fine line between getting in enough kicking to be prepared, while at the same time not over-kicking to the point that a kicker's leg (or other body parts, such as the abdomen) wear out before the season is over. This is especially true in the NFL, whose season is longer than those at the collegiate or high school levels. Kickers that have managed a long and successful career often comment on having eventually learned how to pace themselves accordingly. The Packers special teams coordinator Shawn Slocum touched on this topic: 
"Mason, I think he's fine. This is precautionary. He went through the training camp and the beginning of the season and he's kicked a lot of balls, so it's not surprising for him to get a little fatigued. We're being very careful with [him] so he's ready to go."
The injury also prompted some discussion on some of the specifics of how the body works during both placekicking and on kickoffs. Crosby commented after Friday's practice:
"I made that [a 46 yard kick into the wind in practice] and felt like I still had some good pop. That's probably the biggest thing you think about when you take a little time off. Is that power still going to be there? If anything, that rest helped me.... Kickoffs torque on [the abdomen] a little more. For how it felt on field goals, I don't see any problems with kickoffs."

Jeff Feagles' Directional Punting

Today's recommend reading is the following blog by Jenny Ventras of The Star-Ledger. The highly interesting and informative post discusses Jeff Feagles and his directional punting. The New York Giants' punter has refined his skill and developed into one of the top punters in the league.
That approach, which [head coach Tom] Coughlin calls a "rare talent," is what landed Feagles, 43, in the Pro Bowl last season -- and has extended his career into its 22nd season."My ninth or 10th year in the league, I was getting up there in age," Feagles said, "so I had to get some sort of advantage on the league."
The post also links to the following diagram and analysis of some of Feagles punts last year:

Friday, September 18, 2009

UFL: 4 Teams; 12 Specialists

The new United Football League will have four teams in its inaugural season. For those doing the math, that means twelve new jobs for specialists. The recently released training camp rosters include some names you'll probably recognize.

K Aaron Barrett (New Mexico)
P Ryan Horvath (Drake)
LS Jared Retkovsky (TCU)

K Kevin Lovell (Cincinnati)
P Todd Sauerbrun (West Virginia)
LS Joey Madrid (Colorado State)

K Andrew Jacas (Fort Valley State)
P Danny Baugher (Arizona)
LS Rigo Morales (TexasA&M Kingsville)

California Redwoods 
K Douglass Parker (South Dakota State)
P Derrick Frost (Northern Iowa)
LS Kai Brown (Brown)

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

NFL Week One K Quotes

Notable kicking quotes from around the NFL following week 1 of the 2009 season:

In a late game-altering play, New England Patriots' kicker Stephen Gostkowski was at the bottom of the pile recovering a fumbled kickoff return by Buffalo's Leodis McKelvin. Linebacker Pierre Woods, who stripped the ball, commented on the recovery:
“I thought somebody else had it, but Steve, the kicker, man, Steve’s awesome. What can you say more about that guy, man? He came down there. He was all awkwardly bent up like a pretzel, had the ball, wouldn’t let the guy from Buffalo get it. I tried to pull that guy off of him. The ref was going crazy. I mean, it was just chaos, but that’s what we practice for, all those two-a-days, all that hard work, all of that sweat, blood and tears. It was a big win."
Atlanta Falcons kicker Jason Elam, whose accuracy has improved over his career, uncharacteristically missed two FGs and one PAT against the Dolphins. He commented:
“I’m really happy for our team and that we got the win but, yeah, that was a very frustrating day.... I wasn’t getting my job done and so I probably would have booed me, too. I don’t blame [the fans] at all.”
Washington punter Hunter Smith, who also serves as the holder for kicker Shauin Suisham, scored the only points for the Redskins in the first half. On a fake FG attempt, he ran the ball 8 yards for a TD. He commented:
"That was a momentum shifter a little bit for us. If we could have got it done in the end, it would've made it a lot sweeter.... It was something we knew we could kinda go after, kind of a weakness. It worked just like we practiced it."
If the Saints' John Carney kicks well, and if rookie punter Thomas Morstead continues to kick off well over the next three weeks, it could mean that Garrett Hartley may not have a job waiting for him when he finishes serving his four game suspension. Carney said of Morstead:
"I don't know if New Orleans knew the gem they were getting in him because after today he is becoming a real kickoff weapon, and that pays huge dividends over the course of the season.... His punting is phenomenal and as long as he keeps on track and he stays within himself, he'll be one of the elite punters and kickoff men in this league."
With the constraints of a 53-man roster and a 45-man game day active list, most NFL teams do not chose to keep a separate kickoff specialist. Most teams use their placekicker to also handle kickoffs and a few use the punter. Last year however, the Carolina Panthers were one of the exceptions, with John Kasay handling placekicking and Rhys Lloyd handling kickoffs. Their success led the Dallas Cowboys to do the same this year, with Nick Folk handling placekicking and rookie David Buehler handling kickoffs. Tampa Bay HC Raheem Morris got to see the tandem first hand this week, and comment afterwards:
"That may be the best kicker combination in the league. The ball was consistently [kicked] in the end zone. Completely took out one of our biggest weapons in [return specialist Clifton Smith]. When he got a chance to return a kickoff, he got back to the 22, 23. But when you have a kicker that gets it to him on the 5 and he gets to the 30-yard line or the 40-yard line, it's a big difference. So, kudos to Dallas for that."

Monday, September 14, 2009

Big Kickers on Campus, week 2

A quick summary of notable kicking during the second week of the 2009 college football season:

Senior kicker Andrew Aguila's 42 yard FG with three seconds remaining gave Central Michigan a 29-27 win over Michigan State.

Sophomore kicker Philip Welch's 22 yard FG in double overtime gave Wisconsin a 34-31 win over Fresno State. He also made a 57 yarder at the end of the first half. 

Freshman kicker Josh Lewis' 18 yard FG with 4 seconds left broke a tie and led McNeese State to a 40-35 win over Appalachian State.

Senior kicker Jon Striefsky’s 23 yard FG attempt with 38 seconds remaining was blocked and Richmond held on for a 16-15 win over Delaware. 

Junior kicker Kai Forbath made FGs of 26, 39, 31, and 47 yards in UCLA's 19-15 win over Tennessee. He missed a 51 yard attempt just before halftime.

Junior kicker Stefan Demos' 49 yard FG with six seconds gave Northwestern a 27-24 win over Eastern Michigan.

Freshman kicker Nick Ferrara's 26 yard FG in overtime gave Maryland a 38-35 win over James Madison.

Junior kicker Scott Blair's 36 yard FG with 57 seconds left gave Georgia Tech a 30-27 win over Clemson. He also threw a 34 yard TD pass in the first quarter off a fake FG attempt.

Junior kicker Tyler Albrecht's 48 yard FG with 32 seconds remaining gave Louisiana-Lafayette a 17-15 win over Kansas State.

Junior kicker Justin Kahut's 33 yard FG with seven seconds remaining gave Oregon State a 23-21 win over UNLV.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Career Points Top 25

Through the 2008 season, following are the top 25 career scorers in the NFL. The list is dominated by kickers, rightfully so. Heading into the 2009 season, Kasay is within range of the top ten. Carney, Stover, and Elam are all within range of the number three spot currently held by Blanda. Lurking just outside the top 25 is Olindo Mare.

2544 Morten Andersen
2. 2434 Gary Anderson
3. 2002 George Blanda
4. 1955 John Carney
5. 1944 Matt Stover
6. 1915 Jason Elam
7. 1747 Jason Hanson
8. 1736 Norm Johnson
9. 1711 Nick Lowery
10. 1699 Jan Stenerud
11. 1634 John Kasay
12. 1594 Eddie Murray
13. 1584 Al Del Greco
14. 1490 Adam Vinatieri
15. 1476 Steve Christie
16. 1470 Pat Leahy
17. 1439 Jim Turner
18. 1422 Matt Bahr
19. 1416 Jeff Wilkins
20. 1382 Mark Moseley
21. 1380 Jim Bakken
22. 1370 Ryan Longwell
23. 1365 Fred Cox
24. 1349 Lou Groza
25. 1246 Jim Breech

Jeff Reed makes & Rob Bironas misses

In last night's opener of the 2009 NFL season, the kicking game played a big role on the score board - as Pittsburgh beat Tennessee in the low scoring  game. The Steelers' Jeff Reed was successful on both of his key field goals. The first was a 32 yarder which tied the game at 10-10 with just under three minutes remaining in the fourth quarter. The second was a game winning 33 yarder on the first possession of overtime. The Titans' Rob Bironas was not quite as successful. A 37 yard attempt in the first quarter went wide right following a bad snap. A 31 yard attempt in the second quarter was blocked.

In the words of those who were there...

Asked what happened on the kicks: "I'm just going to watch the film."
Asked to elaborate: "We ended up not putting up as many points as the Steelers did and they get the victory."
Re: Tennessee’s two missed field goals in first half
"The first one, it was a bad snap. It was way behind the holder. It was actually a good hold and a great attempt. The second one, we actually worked on the field goal block drill, believe it or not. And every once in a while, it pays off."

How big was it to get this victory against a conference rival before you go on the road for a couple [of games]?
"It’s very big because it’s not just team, it’s a great team that we beat. And we also won, and we didn’t totally dominate. So it was nice to know that we can win close games. This is my eighth year here, and I’ve been in a lot of close games. We usually are on the up side of those. And it looks like we’re starting out good."
Titans Head Coach Jeff Fisher
"The snap was low [on the missed field goal]. Craig [Hentrich] made a good hold on it but it threw Bironas off a little bit and we missed it. We had penetration through the middle on the kick that was blocked."

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Two Hips, Two Knees, & One Groin

Heading into opening week, four big name NFL kickers are recovering from injuries - and in three cases from surgery. At the moment, it appears as if all four should be kicking this Sunday.

Nick Folk, Dallas Cowboys - back in early May, Folk had the increasingly popular Kicker Hip Surgery for a labral tear. He resumed light work as training camp began. Easing his burden is the presence of speedy rookie David Buehler, who will serve as the kickoff specialist along with handling other special teams tasks. Folk handled placekicking in the preseason games. After two missed FGs in the first two games, he commented:
"The strength is coming back to what it was, but at the same time, subconsciously, I need to get over the fact that I had surgery and it hurt for so long last year. I honestly think the biggest problem is I'm not trusting it enough. Once I can get to that place mentally, I think it will be a lot easier."
Folk resumed his accurate ways in the third game.

Adam Vinatieri, Indianapolis Colts - during the off-season Vinatieri had an arthroscopic knee procedure, and then in early June also elected to give the Kicker Hip Surgery a try. He did not kick in the preseason until the final game, in which he missed his only FG attempt. Shane Andrus, who filled in during the first three preseason games, remains on the 53 man roster. He could be activated this week to handle kickoffs while Vinatieri would handle placekicking. Adam commented this week:
"I always say very few people are 100 percent throughout the course of a season. Sometimes injuries come at the beginning, sometimes they come at the end. I think I'm good enough to get out there and do my job on the field and hopefully help our team win games."
Jason Hanson, Detroit Lions - on August 18th Hanson underwent minor knee surgery. He just resumed practicing this week. Billy Cundiff, who was brought in for the remainder of the preseason, was released over the weekend, presumably due to vested veteran monetary reasons. After practicing, Hanson commented:
“Swelling, I guess, is the big part because then it locks it up and then it doesn’t work right,” Hanson said. “But as I was hitting them, nothing went pop or bang or pow. So that’s a good thing.”
The Lions could still make a move later this week to add a young unvested kicker to handle kickoffs in Sunday's game.

Shayne Graham, Cincinnati Bengals - after missing the last three preseason games with a sore groin, Graham appears ready to go this week. Special teams coordinator Darrin Simmons commented this week:
"A long layoff is something you don't want for a kicker getting ready for the season. You'd like more work with the operation, but I think he'll be fine.... He's already worked plenty with those guys and Kevin [Huber] is a good enough holder that I don't think it's going to be a problem. He kicked off last week and we're just going to monitor his number of kicks."
The team released Sam Swank, who handled the kicking while Graham was out.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Welcome to Kickology

Chinese game of Tsu Chu
Kicking of a ball in organized activities dates back at least 4000 years, with the earliest documented cases occurring in the ancient Egyptian and Chinese civilizations. It is possible that games in Mesoamerica and Australia also date back that far. My involvement in the study of kickology only dates back about six years. Needless to say, I've got a lot of catching up to do. I'll save the story of how and why I became interested in kickology for another time - or perhaps I'll never bother with that story, because it is pretty darn boring. Instead we will focus on all things kicker related...

My initial research was focused entirely on "pro football kickers". By football, I am referring to American football, as opposed to soccer (which is of course football to the rest of the world). But soccer, and rugby for that matter, will now venture into the discussion at times for various reasons. By pro, I am referring to the pinnacle of American football - the NFL. But other professional and semi-professional outdoor and indoor leagues will also now be covered. As will amateur kicking at the collegiate level and earlier. As will non-American and non-soccer football such as those found in Canada and Australia. By kickers, I am referring to... kickers (placekicking and kicking off). But the kindred spirit punters, as well as long snappers, holders, special teams coaches, and anyone else involved in kicking will also receive attention. In other words, the goal for this blog is to discuss all things kicker related.