Notable kicking quotes from around the NFL following week sixteen of the 2009 season:
Oakland Raiders kicker Sebastian Janikowski has attempted quite a few long range field goals during his career. In less than ideal weather conditions in Cleveland this past weekend, he made a 61 yarder - the longest of his career and the fourth longest in NFL history.
“That’s one of the best kicks I’ve ever had. In these conditions with the snow and wind, I’m proud of it. In warm-ups, we kicked it 60 yards going in that direction. I hit it hard. I thought it was short at first and it barely got in there.”
Quite a few teams changed kickers part way through the 2009 season. The head coaches of two of those teams commented on the current kickers solid progress, but were non-committal as to whether the kicker had job security for 2010. Baltimore head coach John Harbaugh discussed Billy Cundiff:
"Billy's obviously solidified us. Billy’s kicking off very well and he’s kicking field goals really well. Billy’s been around, Billy’s been on the street. Billy’s had great success early in his career.... He was one of these guys that was going to be a star when he was in Dallas early on. Had some injures, got bumped around, got beat up a little bit, and now he’s back.... We’ll see long-term wise, but I’ve got high hopes for Billy.”
Tampa Bay head coach Raheem Morris similarly discussed Connor Barth, whose 47 yarder in overtime gave the Buccaneers and upset win over the Saints:
"All he's done is come in here and make field goals for us and, really, be consistent. I know he missed a couple. But for the most part, he's been banging them. He had the big three 50-yard field-goal day (against Miami last month), he had the game-winner against the New Orleans Saints. He's pretty much been consistent all year.... It's nice to see him grow up and mature and do things well," Morris said. "You definitely have to take him into consideration for the future. He's a young kicker with a strong leg."
New Orleans was in a position to have won the game, however Garrett Hartley missed a 37 yard field goal attempt with five seconds remaining in regulation. Afterward, head coach Sean Payton did not present Hartley as the scapegoat, but instead continued to express confidence in his kicker:
"It came down to a late field goal, so that kick is more magnified, but I've seen him operate in big situations. The key is the player knowing that you have confidence in him. And that's something that he has established. That's not always the case. We've been here, and you guys have seen it. I might not openly say it, but I might hold my breath with a kick (in the past), and it's not the case with him. I have a lot of confidence in his leg.... When you see what I see during the workweek and you see the talent that he is, he's going to do a good job for us and make a lot of those kicks. He already has made some of them. ... Sometimes you're in a situation where you might not have the player that you think is going to be your kicker for the next five, six, seven years, but I do think we have that player. And that's something that he's had to earn, now. It isn't just because we want him to be.... I liked the look in his eye after the miss. I got after him a little bit, but it was important (to keep him ready), because here we are going into overtime, and he might be back out there again. And I think he had the right look."