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Weatherford last year.

kickerpa16 : 5/16/2014 10:03 am

About 20 seconds in, you see Weatherford's old technique (the video is old, but you see it clearly). When he catches the ball, he shuffles his feet. This is problematic because you align your feet where you want to punt the ball. If you shuffle when you catch, you have thrown off your pre-snap alignment. It also eliminates the nice, finely tuned foot placement that you work on meticulously.

Also, look at the ball drop. The nose faces in, which means that you are swinging across your body. It's more like a soccer style kick, and less like the traditional punting motion. It also means that to hit the sweet spot of the ball, it's a more unique motion, and much less likely to be solved by simple repetition. It's much harder to consistently use this ball drop.

Because of that side swing motion, at about 35 seconds in, you see his plant foot. A lot of the power of a kick is from the plant foot, and how high off the ground you get. Notice that Weatherford's soccer style motion limits how high he gets off of the ground. This limits the power he can put into the kicks.

This is what he went back to at the end of the year. He tried correcting all these techniques earlier on in the year (can't really find clean game tape on him; it's hard to see).

He also did clean up his soccer style kick later on (there is a Giants video of him punting,, so it's not nearly as pronounced as it was with the Jets. But it's still there. There should be a little sideways swing in the motion, so long as you've played soccer in the past, but too much and you also expose your body to hits (i.e., momentum carries you outside the protection pocket).

Weatherford seems to have tried to use a new style for the first 8 games. After an abysmal showing, he used the bye week to switch back to what he used to do, and the numbers improved. So, let's look at some of the raw numbers:

First 8 games:
Gross Average: 47.2
Net Average: 35.41
# of TD's: 3
# of Fair Catches/# of Punts: 15.2% (7/46)
Gross-Net Average: 11.8

Last 8 games:
Gross Average: 46.6
Net Average: 41.04
# of TD's: 0
# of Fair Catches/# of Punts: 22.2% (10/45)
Gross-Net Average: 5.6

So, did I see what I saw? I saw Weatherford struggling with consistency the 1st 8 games. A difference of almost 12 yards per punt by the returner either hints at shoddy cover teams OR poor punting. I believe it was more of the latter. While the coverage teams were poor, they don't see the flight of the ball and must work on either the punter calling out the direction of the kick or by knowing where the punter will hit it consistently. An inconsistent punter will lead to massive problems when covering the kick, which is what I think we had. Weatherford also struggled with hang time. The difference between the gross and net average attests to this, as well as the number of returns for TD's and lack of fair catches. All in all, a very poor start to the season. No consistency, no hang time, and lots of distance means he was line driving a lot of balls. This works beautifully for the return team.

What did we see in the last 8 games? A return to Weatherford's normal consistency; a slightly above average punter who will hit it where it needs to go, not great at directional punting, but able to ensure that the return team knows where it needs to go. A 50% improvement in the difference between the gross and net averages, down to 5.6 yards per punt. This means that his hang time got better, so the cover team improved as the season wore on. With consistency, the gunners and LS know where to go. A slight improvement in the number of fair catches, but Weatherford has never been a great punter with distance and hang time. He hit it with distance this year, but his hang time was rather mediocre all season. This is a function of an inconsistent motion (which he tried to clean up).

With an inconsistent motion (side soccer swing, bad foot placement, bad hand placement), you can get the distance. That's a function of leg strength and "jump" off of the back foot. Hang time, however, is a function of mechanics. Although his hang time improved, it was not due to mechanics. It was going back to something that worked.
Mediocre year, but looking forward to him rebounding.  
kickerpa16 : 5/16/2014 10:03 am : link
A great person who does a lot for the community.
I hope so  
Jon from PA : 5/16/2014 10:08 am : link
I'm really rooting for the guy. If there's one Giant I'd like to have a beer with it would be him.

#mancrush #NTTIAWT #dontjudgeme
Thanks for the breakdown...  
rptl530 : 5/16/2014 10:15 am : link
some of those lousy punts really put NYG is a tough position.

You figure that with a lousy offense at least your punter will help to bail you out a little. Not so the first half of last year.
kickerpa16 : 5/16/2014 10:17 am : link
This year started off poorly. Low to no hang times, poor directional punting (if you can't get it between the numbers and sideline, kick it OOB), and low distance meant teams were starting off in prime position against us. Couple that with 3 early return TD's, and Weatherford struggled.

I don't know precisely what happened, but I think Steve tried to alter his mechanics. Changed where he placed his hand on the ball (which alters the drop), and his footwork seems different. No back foot hop when he catches it.It was a poor start to the season and a contributing factor to 0-6. Mechanics to a punter are what get distance, hang time, and direction. Screwing up one of his changes, and you get issues. Fucking up your footwork and grip on the ball? No hope to hit it consistently. And it showed.

Sometimes changing mechanics simply doesn't work (remember Matt Dodge?). Says nothing about his skills, since he is, at his best, an above average punter.
very cool post  
Moondwg : 5/16/2014 10:39 am : link
He was 27th in net punting average last year (not good), and  
kickerpa16 : 5/16/2014 10:59 am : link
7th in gross punting average last year. Highlights the early season problems he had.

Much better the previous 2 seasons.
I love Weatherford  
Jay on the Island : 5/16/2014 11:10 am : link
He is an amazing person but he has to kick much better this season or else the Giants need to consider finding some serious competition for him.
Kicker - thanks for an amazing post  
mikeshecky : 5/16/2014 11:33 am : link
You're the "weatherman" of kicking here at BBI, thanks for the analysis.
RE: I hope so  
RC02XX : 5/16/2014 11:36 am : link
In comment 11681952 Jon from PA said:
I'm really rooting for the guy. If there's one Giant I'd like to have a beer with it would be him.

#mancrush #NTTIAWT #dontjudgeme

Just don't make out with him in matter how much you want to.
good post  
area junc : 5/16/2014 11:41 am : link
there is a reason weatherford has bounced around the league. he was poor last year (and the year before that too imo) and struggles locating his punts: tom doesn't expect every punt to go perfectly OOB but he does expect every punt b/w the hashmark and sidelines.

weatherford punted too many straight down the middle at explosive returners and his touch inside the 20 was poor. he's done it before but NFL punting is about consistency
Nice post,  
Randy in CT : 5/16/2014 11:45 am : link
Thanks for the kind  
kickerpa16 : 5/16/2014 12:31 pm : link
Very interesting analysis.  
Great White Ghost : 5/16/2014 1:16 pm : link
So, do you think he should just go with what he knows, and leave his mechanics as they are, or try and improve them yet agin and risk lower production.It was interesting to me that Beatty also said his lack of production pre-injury was due to him trying to clean up his mechanics, and it simply didn't work. I guess sometimes guys just are what they are?
RE: Thanks for the kind  
dorgan : 5/16/2014 1:58 pm : link
In comment 11682286 kickerpa16 said:

Don't let it go to your head, you're still a kicker.


Nice job.
BrettNYG10 : 5/16/2014 2:00 pm : link
I'm hoping  
Mike in Boston : 5/18/2014 1:27 pm : link
The only reason he sees the field this year is to hold for PATs :)
Good job kickerpa  
mrvax : 5/18/2014 3:46 pm : link
I know nothing of the art of punting.
Weatherford cost himself close to $1MM with that crappy start.  
Big Blue Blogger : 5/18/2014 4:26 pm : link
Even with a reduced salary, his cap hit is still awfully high. He'll need an excellent year to avoid a similar salary cut in 2015, when he will have less dead-money leverage.
Did anybody on this team have any idea  
Jimmy Googs : 5/18/2014 5:55 pm : link
how to do their job when the season started last year?

RE: Did anybody on this team have any idea  
Klaatu : 5/18/2014 6:02 pm : link
In comment 11684816 Jimmy Googs said:
how to do their job when the season started last year?

Yes. Linval Joseph.
Antrel Rolle.  
arcarsenal : 5/18/2014 6:38 pm : link
Seriously, injuries are one thing but regression  
Jimmy Googs : 5/18/2014 6:47 pm : link
to bad mechanics with Eli, Beatty, Wilson and now even Weatherford? I mean we have position coaches..right?

"Son, you all gotta do better than this.."


It's not bad mechanics.  
kickerpa16 : 5/18/2014 6:48 pm : link
It's trying to improve what you're doing.

Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. Has nothing to do with ability or position coaches.
You're being too nice...  
Jimmy Googs : 5/18/2014 6:51 pm : link
These are professionals at the top of their sport. This kind of stuff can't go on for 8 games...
You simply have no idea what  
kickerpa16 : 5/18/2014 6:52 pm : link
you're talking about.

Professionals can't acclimate to all changes in their mechanics at all times. That's just stupid.

Sometimes change doesn't work.
Sorry for being stupid...  
Jimmy Googs : 5/18/2014 7:05 pm : link
your OP and follow up comments speak to a change in Weatherford's mechanics that caused inconsistencies and poor results for half of a season. And if we count summer and preseason when this likely began, this could have been going on noticeably for 4-5 months.


a. It's very easy to hit great punts using new mechanics  
kickerpa16 : 5/18/2014 7:08 pm : link
in practice. Much harder in live game situations.

b. A majority of the mechanics change probably did not involve much punting. You work on getting the technique right.

c. Changing mechanics mid-stream isn't easy. You can't say, hey, this isn't working after 2 games, and then fall right back into what you used to do. That takes a lot of time, away from working with the other members of the special teams.

d. The punting was inconsistent, not bad each punt. Sometimes you can work out the inconsistency in punting by simple repetition. Giving it to game 8 is a way to see if you can work out the kinks.

None of that lines up with what you've been saying.
No, I think it lines up well with what I said  
Jimmy Googs : 5/18/2014 7:21 pm : link
after reading your OP.

And that is Weatherford wasn't doing his job well at the beginning of the year.

You said it was bad mechanics. That's false. You also  
kickerpa16 : 5/18/2014 7:23 pm : link
spouted something stupid about being a professional, which is spurious. You weren't close to the mark.
Not sure why you are so bent out of shape  
Jimmy Googs : 5/18/2014 7:37 pm : link
on this, so I am going to take the high road and just stick to your post & follow up comments which spoke to Weatherford changing his mechanics and getting bad results for 8 games(abysmal I believe was your word).

I don't think its a leap of faith for me to say those were bad mechanics then. Is it?

You also said he went back more of what he used to do after changing back during the bye week, and got better results for the remainder of the year. No?
You're wrong. Not even close. And stubbornly sticking to your guns.  
kickerpa16 : 5/18/2014 7:53 pm : link
Then claiming something about being a professional. It's an amalgam of stupid.

Re-read my OP to figure out why Weatherford changing his mechanics to a more proper form is not bad mechanics. It's an inability to assimilate changes at a later stage in a career, which isn't something unique to him.

As to your last point, I addressed those thoroughly in a.-d. I'm not going to waste my time re-hashing those thoughts.

Yes, don't rehash...please. I think we all just hope Weatherford's  
Jimmy Googs : 5/18/2014 8:15 pm : link
"inability to assimilate changes at a later stage in a career" doesn't hurt the team this season.

Perhaps you should not type and learn.  
kickerpa16 : 5/18/2014 8:20 pm : link
We all need to do it constantly.
Ok thanks for the tip.  
Jimmy Googs : 5/18/2014 8:38 pm : link
Semipro Lineman : 5/18/2014 8:45 pm : link
kickerpa16 doesn't Weatherford foolishness lightly.

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