the study of the kicking components within sports

Monday, November 29, 2010

Carolina & Cleveland: Compliments All Around

There was much specialist talk after yesterday's Carolina versus Cleveland game. Both kickers attempted important field goals late in the fourth quarter. With 2:42 remaining, Browns kicker Phil Dawson made a 41 yarder which would prove to be the game winner.
"I was certainly uncomfortable because I hadn’t touched the ball in the second half. The field also was an issue today with the lack of footing, and the ball was just kind of dying in the air....
[after a high snap] is when you’ve got to trust your preparation and ignore your emotions. Reggie did a great job on the hold and I was fortunate to get it in."
Phil's holder, punter Reggie Hodges, returned the compliment:
“Phil is the best kicker in the league, plain and simple, and the best I’ve ever played with. I spent a year in New York, where the winds are kind of tricky, but this is the toughest spot in the NFL to kick. It’s just amazing how well he knows the conditions here and how to respond to them.”
Trailing by one point, the Panthers had a chance to win it on the final play of the game, but kicker John Kasay's 42 yard attempt hit the upright.
"I try to do the best I can to give them opportunities to win. This is one of those days where they did everything they needed to do to win the game, and I was the one to let them down. There's no other way to look at it.... I wish I would have made that kick. It's a neat thing, seeing young guys stepping up and making plays. That's what it takes to win in this league, and those guys did that today. They got the job done. I was the one that failed."
Nonetheless, John's holder, punter Jason Baker, had nothing but kind words:
"I've never worked with anybody I would prefer to have out there in that situation, and I've worked with the all-time leading scorer [Morten Andersen] and two or three other guys in the top ten. And I would take him over every one of them every time."
The compliments afterward were not limited to just between team mates. Phil Dawson said of John Kasay:
"I have a tremendous amount of respect for John. He's as good as there is in the game now. You could make the case he's as good as there ever has been. Not only does John set a great example for all professional athletes, he's everything an NFL player should be."

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