When it comes to his craft, Giants punter Steve Weatherford is as meticulous as one will find in terms of doing everything he can to make sure he’s not only in optimal physical condition, but that his punting is always in mid-season form.
That, however, wasn’t the case last week against the Denver Broncos, as the eight-year pro had one of his worst games in the three years he’s been a member of the Giants.
He not only finished the game with a net average of 22.0 yards, his lowest total as a Giant since Nov. 11, 2012 when his net average was 27.3, he also gave up an 81-yard punt return for a touchdown by Broncos returner Trindon Holliday, who capitalized on a low, line drive Weatherford kick sent right down the middle of the field.
Weatherford, who prior to last week had only been victimized one other time on a punt return for a touchdown — Chicago’s Devin Hester, who returned a punt 64 yards against Weatherford and the Saints on December 30 2007 –- owned up to his poor performance after the game on Sunday and vowed that it won’t happen again.
“It was one of those days when I just didn’t have it,” he said today in the Giants locker room. “I really didn’t want to read too much into the technique or anything because we punt the ball great this week and actually punted the ball pretty well before the game so it was a number of things.”
Some of those things, which Weatherford and Giants special teams coordinator Tom Quinn identified on film, included his stance, his weight distribution, and his drop of the ball.
Both Quinn and head coach Tom Coughlin agreed that Weatherford has done a better job of punting so far this week in practice.
“He’s punted the ball better and has worked hard at it, just like we always do,” Coughlin said. “Our number one thing we do every week is punt. First thing we do is punt–that sends that kind of message. That’s why it’s so disappointing from last week. But he has worked hard, and is very serious about (correcting the flaws), so we’ll see.”
Weatherford and Quinn both denied that the 30-year-old punter, who punted 28 times in the preseason, might have a tired leg.
“I’m not over-kicked,” Weatherford insisted. “It was just a bad day. I’ve been on this team for three years and I don’t really think I’ve had a bad day yet. I’d like to think I’ll never have a bad day, but it happens to everybody.”
The important thing is making sure that the bad day was an isolated occurrence.
“If something is off by a quarter of an inch when you’re kicking or punting, it looks like a mile when the ball gets down the field” he said. “So we made some small adjustments and looked at some film, but it’s nothing really glaring.”
Being the optimist that he is, Weatherford is confident that he has the problem figured out
“I don’t usually have days like that so it’s just one of those things that you eat it, wear it, say you were terrible and then next week, I feel fully confident going into this week – it’s not like I’m in a slump.
“(Last week was) just a crappy game, so you get over it. I have 14 more games. My team’s going to need me, so it’s time to get the ball rolling.”