Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Pro-Bowl Bound!

Congratulations to the kickers in this year's Pro-Bowl.


Brian Moorman, Punter - Buffalo Bills

Nate Kaeding, Placekicker - San Diego Chargers


Mat McBriar, Punter - Dallas Cowboys

Robbie Gould, Placekicker - Chicago Bears

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

On LT's scoring record

Lots of good talk out there about San Diego Charger LaDainian Tomlinson breaking Paul Hornung's single-season NFL scoring record. I especially like Yellow Chair Sport's thoughts, including:
Obviously, star running backs kicking field goals would never fly today, but I'd like to think that Tomlinson, had he played back then, would have had the foresight not to use the most lumpy and angular part of his foot in kicking for accuracy. Hell, given his ability to throw pretty spirals, I'm guessing he could strap on the kicking shoes tomorrow and hit better than 54%.
I dunno, maybe RB's should kick field goals. Also, let's remember that Hornung played on the frozen tundra of Lambeau Field while LT plays in sunny San Diego. Just sayin'...

After a Brief Pause...

Hi to my few but loyal readers out there - had a little bump in the road made me pause the blog for a moment but I'm back, baby!

Some good news for the Redskins (who are out of it for this year but can still play spoiler). From Tandler's Redskin's Blog:
Shaun Suisham has made seven straight field goals. That’s not a Moseley-like streak by any means, but it is possible that the Redskins have a young leg that can stick around for a few years. Nobody will be completely sold until he makes a game-winner in December, but the early signs are good.
Ya gotta look for that silver lining when your team is in a rebuilding phase. As a long-time Celtic's basketball fan, I know that can be a long phase...

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Not Just Any Hall of Fame

No Siree. Sean Landeta is being inducted into the Collegiate Division II Football Hall of Fame tomorrow.

He didn't end up kicking last week for the Giants so at least this will give him something to talk about on the bench on Sunday.

Congrats Sean. Div II Hall o' Fame baby! Yeah!

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Donnie Jones' Little Black Book

According to an article in the Miami Herald, the secret to Dolphins' punter Donnie Jones' success - as shown with 3 boots that left New England pinned down inside their own 5 last week - has a lot to do with a small black leather notebook that he uses to jot down small quotes to keep him focused before heading out for a kick.
'I keep a little journal, things I remember when I go out,'' Jones said. ``There's so much stuff that goes into my thoughts, and if you start thinking about everything, it's too much.''

Sunday's entry: ``Catch, get it out, finish the kick.''

Certainly seems to be working for Donnie

Monday, December 11, 2006

Punter Rage

First there was the whole UNC punter-on-punter stabbing earlier in the year. Now this via Gods of Sport:
...(the) punter for Vanderbilt Kyle Keown is up on assault charges for hitting his girlfriend and then grabbing his teammate by the wedding tackle. To cap off a fun evening he then climbed into the room of the guy whose nuts he just crushed and threatened him with a knife.
According to the official Vanderbilt Commodore's website, Kyle is majoring in "Human and Organizational Development."

Sunday, December 10, 2006

And the Winner Is...

University of Louisville's Art Carmody has won the 2006 Lou Groza Award. From Monsters&Critics:
Carmody, a junior, made 20-of-23 field goal attempts and all 57 of his extra point tries this season for the Cardinals.

John Vaughn of Auburn University and Garrett Hartley of Oklahoma University were the other finalists.

Congratulations, Art. The Toe would be proud.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Past Groza Winners

Just for fun, here are the past ten winners:

2005 - Alexis Serna, Oregon State
2004 - Mike Nugent, Ohio State
2003 - Jonathan Nichols, Ole Miss
2002 - Nate Kaeding, Iowa
2001 - Seth Marler, Tulane
2000 - Jonathan Ruffin, Cincy
1999 - Sebastian Janikowski, Florida St
1998 - Sebastian Janikowski, Florida St
1997 - Martin Gramatica, Kansas St
1996 - Marc Primanti, NC State

Lou Groza Award Finalists

Tonight, during the Orange Bowl, the Lou Groza Award for best Collegiate Place Kicker will be handed out. From the official site, the finalists are:

John Vaughn, Auburn University, is currently tied for 3rd in the NCAA with 19 made field goals on the season. The senior is 19 of 23 in field goals. Twice this season Vaughn has made four field goals in a game. This season Vaughn is 2 of 3 in field goals 50 yards and longer. His season long came against Mississippi State when he connected on a 55-yard field goal. Also, Vaughn is a perfect 32 of 32 in extra points this season. Vaughn was also named a Lou Groza Collegiate Place-Kicker Award Star of the Week twice this season.

Arthur Carmody, University of Louisville, has been tremendously accurate all season long. On the year he has connected on 94.1% of his field goals. That percentage is currently the 3rd best in the NCAA for place-kickers who have attempted at least 10 field goals. Carmody is 16 of 17 in field goals this season with a long of 51-yards. The junior place-kicker is currently first among kickers in points per game with 9.3 points per game. Carmody is also a perfect 45 for 45 in extra points this season. On three occasions this year Carmody was 3 of 3 in field goals, helping his team win all three games.

Garrett Hartley, University of Oklahoma, has connected on 17 of 18 field goals this season. His only miss on the year came on a blocked 44-yard field goal against Oregon. Hartley currently ranks 2nd among all players in the Big 12 Conference with 8.2 points per game. The junior place-kicker’s season long is a 46-yard field goal against Iowa State. Hartley has also remained perfect this season in extra point attempts going 39 of 39. Twice this year Hartley was named a Lou Groza Collegiate Place-Kicker Award Star of the Week.

Congrats to all three finalists. Good luck tonight!

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Kicked to #1

According to Reuters, the Cowboys/Giants game - the one that ended with some pretty exciting kicker action - was the single highest rated regular season NFL game in the past ten years.

via Sport Caster.

Total Titans

Anytime someone other than me devotes significant time and energy on a piece about kickers I have to give out my props. Sure, it wasn't the longest field goal ever but Rob Bironas's boot for the Titans sure was exciting.

The Total Titans Blog takes a closer look.
Bironas became only the sixth kicker to make an attempt of 60 yards or longer in the regular season. Ola Kimrin once kicked a 65-yarder in a preseason game in the altitude in Denver. Coincidentally, Kimrin was Bironas’ main competition in training camp last year.
Check out the whole piece here.

Old Man Take a Look at Yourself

Somehow it slipped past me that the Giants signed 44-year-old semi-retired punter Sean Landeta as an "insurance policy" for their 40-years-young punter, and consecutive game record-holder, Jeff Feagles.

From the NY Daily News:
"I have been punting two to three times a week in case a situation like this arose," Landeta said. "You never want to see another player, especially one like Jeff, have physical problems. Hopefully this provides the Giants with some peace of mind.
Over at New York Giants Blog they point out an added element of intrigue in that Feagles has broken all of the team records Landeta himself set as the Giants kicker over ten years ago.

Also, check out this awesome recap of Sean's early days in the USFL. He was drafted in the 14th round by the Philidephia Stars in 1983! (where I got the sweet headshot!)

Man, the lifespan of the kicker is pretty damn impressive but ya gotta wonder if these older guys are really going to put themselves in the path of some of these monstrously powerful return-men currently on the field should they be needed to make a TD-saving tackle. And if they did, would they be able to get up and keep kicking...?

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Stick to What You Know...

This is my advice to Bronco's kicker Jason Elam after he pulled his hamstring trying to run after a fake field goal attempt. Adding insult to injury, the play was Jason's idea.

Coach Shanahan had NEVER before attempted a fake field goal:

"Part of the reason is that I don't want to take a chance of getting the kicker hurt... Jason assured me that he would not be hurt."

Elam had two great quotes responding to questions after the game:

"I'm not kidding, 12 years. I didn't think he would ever, ever run it. He actually told me earlier in the week, he said, 'Now, you can't pull a hamstring on this."


"I think it's probably just that I hadn't run in a long, long time."
via The Daily Herald

Monday, December 04, 2006


Once again, the importance of a good kicker has been proven.

It is hard to think even where to begin - but I've got to go with Rob Bironas' 60-yarder to upset Indy. I will say that Indy has been due for an upset with all those close wins, but man, what a great kick.

Then there's the Tuna's internal monologue - "Thank god he made that kick or I'd be the biggest schmuck in the world" kick by Cowboys' Martin Gramatica, recently acquired from the retirement home, that took away what would have been a much-needed win by the Giants.

Oh, and how about Josh Brown booting his FOURTH game-winner of the season for the Seahawks?!

I'll have more on all of this as the day goes on, but for now I am basking in the afterglow of kicker glories.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Diving In

The only pure kicker in the Professional Football Hall of Fame is Jan Stenerud, a native Norwegian who came to Montanta State on a ski jumping scholarship.

So, the future should be wide open for Jeff Wolfert - the Missouri Tigers diver-turned-kicker. According to an article in the Belville News:

The sophomore from Overland Park, Kan., who came to Missouri in 2004 on a diving scholarship, has become the Tigers' most quietly consistent source of points this year. After beating out senior Adam Crossett, Wolfert has made 17-of-19 field goals this season and all 40 of his extra point attempts.

Seems like a natural transition to me...

The Day of the Punter

Man, it is just all about punters out there today. Ok, that could be partially my subjective perspective but here's another great piece on a punter - this time it's the Panther's Jason Baker who has an excellent shot of making the Pro Bowl this year.

As the article in the Charlotte Observer points out, Jason is the polar opposite of Carolina's previous boot-man, the T.O. of punters, Todd Sauerbraun.

"Most of the time I say no when people walk up and say, `can we talk to you?' " Baker said this week while standing in front of his locker. "My goal is just to do my job. I don't do it for the additional attention, I do it because this is what I was blessed with and I have a responsibility to take these gifts and do what I can do with them. I don't look at it any deeper than that."

I love this quote. Not only is it humble, but you have to be glad that he is using his gift for good and not for evil.

Panther's themselves have a nice little piece on Jason as well.

The Dangerfield Effect

Lot's of talk this week about Mike Vanderjagt's abrupt dismisal last week. The Indianapolis Star has a great opinion piece looking into what went down and also how hard it is to be a kicker in the NFL.

As Adam Vinatieri put it:

"Sometimes if you're a lineman or something, you can get kind of lost in the shuffle," Colts kicker Adam Vinatieri said. "But if you're a kicker, you're on an island, and everybody sees what you've done, good or bad."

If there was ever a Rodney Dangerfield of sports it would have to be the kicker.

Keep Away

Although the main stat most people look at for punters (at least, those few who ever look at punter stats) is average distance, the great punters are truly great for their ability to create angles and arcs that limit the potential for returns.

This weekend's Vikings/Bears match-up should be quite a challenge for Minnesota's chris Kluwe, who must try to keep the ball away from Chicago return specialist (and Public Enemy #1 for the NY Giants) rookie Devin Hestert.

Said Kluwe in the Twin City's Star-Tribune:

"I just need to be that extra bit more careful about trying to get the ball to the sideline, make sure he doesn't have a lot of field to work with," Kluwe said of his approach. "He's a very dynamic returner, so as much as possible [we want to] prevent him from returning the ball."

This should be a great special teams game to watch.