the study of the kicking components within sports

Monday, August 22, 2011

AFC South Specialists 2011

The second half of our NFL specialists overviews series begins in the AFC South division.

Houston Texans
Veteran punter Matt Turk is gone via free agency to the Jaguars. Competing to fill that role are veteran fee agent Brad Maynard from the Bears and undrafted rookie Brett Hartman from Central Michigan. Whoever wins the job will work as the holder with kicker Neil Rackers and long snapper Jon Weeks. Rackers is working on welcoming the newcomers with food as he had been taught by Doug Pelfrey, "Doug took me out to eat a lot. We did things together. He was a stellar guy, just phenomenal. If you make someone feel comfortable, it will be easier for him to do his job, so that's what I'm trying to do." Weeks recently sprained his ankle, so the Texans added Scott Albritton.

Indianapolis Colts
The Colts kept free agent kicker Adam Vinatieri in the fold, re-signing him to a three-year deal. As always, Justin Snow is the long snapper. Pat McAfee enters his second third as the Colts punter, holder, and kickoff specialist. He’s also been practicing his placekicking (something he had done in college), including from extra long range (up to 75 yards), “I was working hard on field goals this offseason because Vinatieri’s contract was up and I didn’t know what was going to happen there. We re-signed him. Obviously, he’s one the greatest of all time, and I would never want to compete with him. He’s one of my close friends. But I’m ready to do it whenever I have to.” Undrafted rookie punter Travis Baltz from Maryland is the camp leg.

Jacksonville Jaguars
With punter Adam Podlesh gone via free agency to Chicago, the team signed two punters – the younger Durant Brooks and the elder Matt Turk, who was with the Texans the last four years. Brooks was subsequently released and replaced with Brent Bowden, a sixth round draft pick by Tampa Bay last year. Whoever wins the job will also serve as holder, joining long snapper Jeremy Cain and kicker Josh Scobee on placekicking plays. HC Jack Del Rio’s goal for Scobee is 90% on FGs, “We're looking for him to sustain what he did in the first half, when he was [at a] Pro Bowl level, one of the dominant players at his position. We think he's a talent… I'm taking away those 59-yarders unless we have to have it to win a game.” Sam Swank was a late roster addition to back up Scobee on kicking.

Tennessee Titans
Veteran kicker Rob Bironas is the only kicker on the roster in camp. The same cannot be said for punter Brett Kern, who is joined on the roster by undrafted rookie Chad Cunningham from the University of Tennessee. Nor can the same can be said for veteran long snapper Ken Amato, who is joined on the roster by rookie John Stokes from Vanderbilt. Early in camp, Cunningham and Stokes missed practice due to injury. Head coach Mike Munchak has a hands-off approach to the kicking game, "I have no idea what camp is like for a kicker. I just hope that he is getting enough work out here. We have confidence that when the time comes and we start playing he will be on his game."

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