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 Post subject: Kicker situation
PostPosted: Thu Apr 20, 2006 5:32 pm 
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from lenny p on espn

• During his 16 seasons with the Dallas Cowboys, kicking coach Steve Hoffman was charged by owner Jerry Jones with finding affordable kickers, guys the team could sign, usually off the street, and who would come up big while being paid very little. And Hoffman performed his task quite admirably. He unearthed an impressive litany of unknown placement specialists -- Ken Willis, Lin Elliot, Chris Boniol, Richie Cunningham, Tim Seder and Billy Cundiff -- all of whom led the Cowboys in field goals at least once in their careers and all of whom did so while playing for the minimum salary.

Now it appears the Atlanta Falcons are asking Hoffman, hired this offseason as the assistant to standout special teams coach Joe DeCamillis, to work his magic for them. The Falcons currently have three kickers -- E.J. Cochrane, Zac Derr and Ryan Rossner -- on the roster. And what do the three have in common? All are minimum-salary guys who have never attempted a field goal in an NFL game. For all anyone knows right now, the best kicker on the Atlanta roster might be Michael Koenen, the team's strong-legged punter/kickoff specialist, who converted one of his two field goal attempts during his 2005 rookie campaign. The one conversion, it should be noted, was for 58 yards, the longest field goal in the league last season.

Atlanta's kicker from a year ago, 12-year veteran Todd Peterson, is an unrestricted free agent and Falcons officials have made only luke-warm overtures toward re-signing him. The Falcons have hinted to Peterson, whose 92.0 percent conversion rate last season (23 for 25) was the fourth-best in the league, that he could return for the minimum base salary, but only as part of the open competition for the No. 1 job. There is a sense that the Falcons, known for overspending in some areas, prefer to go cheap at the kicker spot, and to develop a younger player at the position. Apparently, the team is convinced that Hoffman, whose bargain basement approach in Dallas produced terrific return on investment, will either find or develop a solid field goal specialist. It's tough to argue with Hoffman's track record.


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 20, 2006 8:46 pm 
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Yeah, I saw this posted on another board. You have to scratch your head about the team just giving up on a guy that made 92% of his kicks last year.

Over the 16 years Hoffman worked with Cowboys kickers, they averaged a FG% of 76. He worked with over 20 kickers in that 16-year span, and half of them had FG% of less than 75%. And for anyone that doesn't know, 75% is usually considered the the point where a kciker is just average. ANything below means he sucks. For those that didn't know, it should also be noteworthy that the NFL average for kickers around the league the past two years has been 81% accuracy on field goals.

Only 5 times in Hoffman's 20 years did a kicker meet that number:

1995 - Chris Boniol (96.4%)
1997 - Richie Cunningham (91.9%)
1996 - Chris Boniol (88.9%)
1993 - Eddie Murray (84.8%)
1998 - Richie Cunningham (82.9%)

Cunningham in '97 was the only rookie among that group and Murray was in his 14th year in the league back in '93 when he made 85%.

Almost every kicker like Boniol and Cunningham who got out to fast starts under Hoffman tanked. Boniol managed to kick well through his 3 years in Dallas (76% in '94, 96% in '95, and 89% in '96), but they let him go afterwards and he was ineffective outside. He wold not play more than 6 years in the league. Cunningham had the same issue, have two great first years ('97 and '98) and then only making 56% in 1999.

Despite all the good the Falcons have done this off-season, not going after an experienced kicker is the worst among them.

This team will miss Peterson, I guarantee it.

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 21, 2006 4:35 pm 
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Peterson was accurate inside of 40 yards...something we can appreciate from the days of Jay Feely...but you cant tell me you didnt get a little Feely-like feeling anytime we were put into a situation on a kick of 42 yards or so...nevermind 47-55 yarders that we really didnt have anyone capable of taking last year...

With that said...I dont think any of these guys are going to cut it. I think we are probably going to look to sign some undrafted guys to bring in to compete for the position...and maybe bring Peterson back for the minimum (like the article said) to compete. I think that the only way Peterson wins that is if everyone we bring in just plain stinks....


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 22, 2006 10:54 am 
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Yulin wrote:
Lord knows I lost all trust in Peterson after that miss.

You are not alone. I don't feel the same way, after all it was only his second miss of the season. But I do think a lot more Falcon fans feel the same way as you do. Every kicker is bound to miss at least one gimme each season. That one was Peterson's.

But it makes zero sense to me to get rid of a guy that was money from inside 45 yards. Morten Andersen was able only to achieve such accuracy like that once in his career (1986). It's funny to me that Peterson in this case is being held to almost perfect standards. As I stated several months ago, the chances of that kick being blocked were like 1%.

To me, the best case scenario out of this is that Koenen somehow manages to win this position. It just all seems to be an excuse to have a single guy kick and punt. I'd imagine that hasn't happened since the 1960s.

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PostPosted: Sat Apr 22, 2006 12:52 pm 
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To me, the best case scenario out of this is that Koenen somehow manages to win this position. It just all seems to be an excuse to have a single guy kick and punt. I'd imagine that hasn't happened since the 1960s.



I think he is well capable, and if he was kicker/punter, he would expect a raise.

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 23, 2006 12:12 am 
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Yulin wrote:
Is that not allowed? I thought I heard somewhere once that you *must* have a kicker and a punter on your roster, not a single person to do both duties.

Well if it is, it's a dumb rule.

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 24, 2006 4:47 am 
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Take it for whta it's worth, Wikipedia was the first place to provide a comprehensive answer. I looked on NFL.com in their rules digest and could not find anything about player position requirements.

Special teams

The units of players who handle kicking plays are known as special teams. Two important special-teams players are the punter, who handles punts, and the placekicker or kicker, who kicks off and attempts field goals and extra points. It is rare, but not unheard of, for these two positions to be filled by the same player.


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 24, 2006 12:37 pm 
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Good ol' wikipedia. What would the world be without it?

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