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: