Giants P Steve Weatherford getting over slump
If Steve Weatherford is not out on the field practicing, it’s a
good bet the New York Giants punter is lifting.
The ripped 30-year-old health nut downs a couple of protein
shakes after practice and heads into the weight room like
clockwork. The routine extends to his eating. Nothing bad goes
Everything is planned, even his directional punting. Almost
every punt lands outside the numbers and along the sideline. It
makes the coverage easy.
That’s why his recent slump was surprising. He didn’t hit a
couple of balls well, one was returned for a touchdown and he had a
horrible game in the wind against Oakland. It was humbling.
In the past three weeks, Weatherford has made everyone forget
the slump heading into Sunday’s game in San Diego against the
Chargers (5-7). He averaged 53.0 yards, 54.6 and 47.8 against Green
Bay, Dallas and Washington, respectively, with net gains of 42.2
yards, 51.6 and 42.
”It’s just trusting myself,” Weatherford said Friday after his
workout. ”When you have a game like I did against the Raiders,
granted it was windy, but you come out of that game and obviously
your confidence is going to take a blow. I never lost faith in
myself and the coaches never lost faith in me. It just feels good
to get out of that slump and hit the ball well and do what I am
capable of doing.”
The low point for Weatherford was the Oakland game on a very
windy day at MetLife Stadium. He punted three times for an average
of just over 30 yards, including one that was partially blocked and
went seven yards. It was a low point of a three-game run that
featured a punt return for a touchdown by Minnesota, and an Eagles’
touchdown after snapper Zak DeOssie hiked the ball over
Weatherford’s head and it was recovered in the end zone.
”It’s been weird. Everything that could have gone wrong has
gone wrong,” Weatherford said, noting that Denver and Kansas City
both returned punts for touchdowns against the Giants (5-7) this
season. ”It’s difficult, but you take the negative of something
like that happening and try turn it into a positive and get through
it. Fixing the problem, you build confidence and it helps you
believe you can handle anything.”
Weatherford said working on his technique and hitting the ball
better was only half the battle. The guys on special teams held
extra meeting to work on their coverages and the whole process
Safety Will Hill, who was the Giants’ gunner on punt coverage
until he became a starter, said Weatherford is unbelievably
”The majority of time he puts it in the spot where it needs to
be, outside the numbers,” Hill said Friday. ”When you are the
gunner on the side of the kick, when he does that, all you have to
do is run down and leverage the ball and it’s right there for
The three returns for touchdowns this season have destroyed
Weatherford’s statistics. His 47.3 punting average is seventh in
the league. When the 507 yards of return are factored in, his net
average drops to 37.5 yards, 27th in the league.
Placekicker Josh Brown downplayed Weatherford’s punting on the
windy day against Oakland, saying sometimes nature wins.
However, he is a big fan of what Weatherford does, especially
off the field. He takes care of his body and in the process is
prolonging his career.
His twitter page has seven photographs of him standing
shirtless, showing off his muscles.
”He is the most jacked punter I have ever seen,” Hill
The benefit is going to be a long career, Brown said.
”There are a lot of guys who spend a lot of time in the weight
room,” Brown said. ”But a lot of guys aren’t doing it like him.
Are they as serious or knowledgeable about the body and what they
are putting into it? No! He is really smart. He is an intelligent
person who knows what he likes. Lifting weights is a hobby for him
and so a part of his life.”
NOTES: DE Jason Pierre-Paul (shoulder) and CB Corey Webster
(ankle) have been ruled out for Sunday’s game. RB Brandon Jacobs
(knee) is doubtful, while CB Trumaine McBride (hamstring) is
questionable. … TE Brandon Myers (groin) returned to practice on
a limited basis and is probable.
AP NFL website: -www.pro32.ap.org