the study of the kicking components within sports

Monday, November 1, 2010

NFL Week Eight: Packers and Jets Specialists

While special teams are an important aspect of every game, it was especially evident in the close, low-scoring contest between the Packers and the Jets yesterday. Green Bay won 9-0. Each of the four kicking specialists commented on their role after the game.

In a game where field position was a key factor, Packers punter Tim Masthay had one of his strongest games - averaging 44.0 yards and netting 41.5 yards on eight punts.. The Jets' average starting position was the 16-yard line.
"Sure, my confidence has ebbed and flowed. But all I know to do is try to keep working hard, try to trust the work I put in and know that physically I could do it.... Coach McCarthy talks about stacking successes. This is two in a row, so hopefully I can keep stacking them."
Although Jets punter Steve Weatherford also had strong numbers - averaging and netting 43.2 yards on five punts - it was the half yard that he came up short on a non-kick that has received all the attention. While studying game film last week, he saw the potential for a fake punt against the packers coverage.
“They had given me that look on the first punt of the game, then they gave it to me again on the third. I thought it would be a good opportunity for us to get a big swing in the game.”
"I didn't see exactly how many yards we lost on the sack. Once I get out of the pocket, I feel like if it's 12 or 15 yards, I think I can make it. I came up about a half-yard short.... It would have been a good decision had it been fourth-and-nine, but that's my fault. I made the decision to make the play, but it didn't work for the team."
Things also didn't work for his Jets teammate Nick Folk, who was wide on his only scoring attempt in the game - a 37 yarder in the third quarter:
"I swept it up to the right. Everything [snap and hold] was fine. My fault.... I was fine all week. I've been kicking well. It's hard to make them all, but I damn sure should've made it."
In the end, all the points in the game came off the foot of Packers kicker Mason Crosby. Although he missed wide left on a 45 yard attempt, he was good on kicks of 20, 41 and 40 yards.
“It was a tricky day, probably the trickiest day we’ve had. They said it before the game, when the wind comes into the stadium it feels like it’s pushing right to the middle of the field, so both sides it almost feels like the wind is in your face. Strange day. They said they hadn’t had much wind, and that this was the windiest day. It got me on the 45-yarder. I looked at the flags, and that was the biggest mistake. They were coming left to right, and I played it left side, and it actually turned left....

I just thought [of the 40 yarder with 27 seconds remaining], ‘It’s like any other kick'. You just have to hit it the way I do. I get good lift on the ball. You trust the protection and if something happens (and) they block it, we do what we do and shut it out. I make the kick, and the game’s over. That’s the risk-reward there.”

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