the study of the kicking components within sports

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

NFL Week One: Monday Night Snaps-n-Kicks

Among the scorers in the Ravens 44-13 Monday Night win over the Bengals was rookie kicker Justin Tucker. He made three field goals (46, 40 & 39 yards) and five extra points. 
"It was a heck of a lot of fun. It was a great experience. The only difference from the preseason was when I headed out there and heard the Monday night them song and I thought, 'Wow, I'm playing on Monday night'." 
Tucker further commented:
“The way we practice and the way we play in the preseason and how Billy [Cundiff] and I had such a tough competition in training camp has prepared me for really anything. I go out there and treat every kick the same.... As far as the result is concerned, I’m pleased. My performance on kickoffs, I feel I can do better.

Packed house, loud. It reminded me of whenever we had big plays in school [University of Texas], 101,000 people, these 70,000 sounded like 101."
Special teams played a far more prominent role in the second game of the Monday Night double-header - a 22-14 win by the Chargers over the Raiders. Most of San Diego's scoring came off the foot of Nate Kaeding who hit field goals of 23, 28, 19, 41 & 45 yards. It was Kaeding's first regular season action since going down with a knee injury early in last year's season opener.
"It's certainly special for me. I battled back an entire year, 364 days [ago] tomorrow is when I did it last year. It's special. And to come back right out of the gate to knock a bunch of field goals through and kick the ball off well, it's a special win."
On the other side of the field, the news was not-so-good for Oakland. A knee to the helmet took long snapper John Condo out of the game. Linebacker Travis Goethel was pressed into service as the emergency snapper. His three subsequent punt snaps resulted in two snaps that rolled on the ground and Shane Lechler was unable to get off the punt, along with one blocked punt:
"[coach Dennis Allen] asked if I knew how to long snap, and I was the only one at camp that stood out. That's kind of how I got put in there. [Condo] went down and I got put in. Trust me, I wish it never happened....

It was just mechanics of snapping. If you don't snap that often, if you don't snap in a game since high school, it's a little different... I basically just practiced before practice. That's about it with the snapping and stuff. I'm just a linebacker and special teams. It's pretty hard. It's hard snapping on the dirt, too. I've never snapped on the dirt before."
Punter Shane Lechler noted that they had never practiced punts with Goethel at snapper "other than messing around a couple of times."
"My hat's off to him just for doing it. That ain't easy. You know, he went out and did his best. That's all you ask from a guy to get put in a situation like that."

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