the study of the kicking components within sports

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Third Kicking Competition Concludes: David Akers over Håvard Rugland

The third of several NFL kicking competitions this summer has concluded. Yesterday Detroit released Håvard Rugland, which means that David Akers will be the Lions kicker this year. Whether it was truly a competition is perhaps debatable, given that Rugland had no prior football experience at any level, but in the end he fared much, much better than many had predicted and of course it garnered extensive public and media interest world wide. Or maybe, in our rapidly changing world, it was indeed a competition.

Lions head coach Jim Schwartz said of Rugland:
“He had a good camp, but I think when it was all said and done Akers was a clear-cut winner in that position. What the future holds, I don’t know. I do know that he had a good camp and that he improved from beginning until the end. The future is probably in his hands.... He has good ability. Like a lot of young kickers, he needs to work on consistency. That’s a lot of guys who have been released over the last few weeks is for the same thing. It’s not a matter of talent as much as consistency and things like that.”
Wide receiver Nate Burleson said of Rugland:
“He always had a smile on his face. To be honest, I think he’s a NFL-caliber kicker. Hopefully, he’ll get an opportunity somewhere.”
Fellow kicker David Akers also discussed having worked with Rugland the last few months:
“He’s definitely consistent as far as making field goals. His form changes a lot. Some people probably want to see more of that: looking the same, the same shot type. But nothing you can take away from a guy who’s never done anything and come out and he’s done well kicking field goals. There’s a lot to the craft. It takes time to develop.... He seemed appreciative to have an opportunity to be here. We became decent friends, so we’re definitely going to be keeping in contact with each other. He’s a great person, man. It’s a blessing to have him in my life.”
Akers also noted:
"His favorite word was Püh-fect. I’d say, ‘Hey, man, great kick.’ ‘Yeah, püh-fect.’ ‘Let’s go out and grab a bite to eat.’ ‘Püh-fect.’ I’d like to get a shirt made that said, ‘Püh-fect’ on it. Even as big as the media thing got with him, he never had an ego. He just enjoys life, has a good time at what he’s doing, tried to learn a lot. He just kind of ate up every moment of it.”
Constrained to 140 characters, Håvard Rugland tweeted yesterday:
"Want to thank the Lions Org. for the opportunity. Also wanted to thank my fans & teammates, you guys are awesome. It was a great experience."
Epilogue: 
Lost amidst the focus on the released kicker is the fact that Akers kicks on. Two years ago he had a record setting season. One year ago he struggled and dealt with an injury, came close to losing his job in the playoffs, and then did lose it during the offseason. This year is just getting started.

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