One of the few elements of Giants football on Saturday that seemed ready for the regular season to begin was the kicking game. Josh Brown nailed five field goals, two of them from 51 or more yards, and consistently put his kickoffs into the end zone.
"I think we're right where we want to be in preparing," Brown said after the game. "We have a couple more weeks to really solidify the rhythm."
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Brown's 53-yard field goal on Saturday would have tied for the longest in his Giants career. Since joining the Giants in 2013, he is 5-for-6 on field goal attempts of 50 or more yards, including 4-for-4 last year. That's pretty impressive for the oldest player on the roster. So what's the secret to Brown, 36, getting stronger as he gets older?
"I feel like we do a good job of controlling the reps during the week," Brown said. "I think game experience and playing the whole game is good mental practice, to not disengage, to really stay involved. [Saturday] was one of those nights. We had a lot of work and we had a lot of fun. I'd take it every week."
Special teams coach Tom Quinn said it is not unusual for kickers to continue to ascend and get stronger at an age when most NFL players are either long-since retired or at least considering the end of their careers.
"I think they're obviously learning about their bodies and nutrition and training and taking care of their bodies and managing their kicks," Quinn said. "He is pretty serious about how many kicks we do in a week and in a day, so we don't try and kick our leg out. It's a long season and a long process, so we try and keep him fresh but then he also does a lot of work in the weight room, which is showing up."
Training alongside punter and well-known fitness lunatic Steve Weatherford helps in that regard. But it also helps that Weatherford is Brown's holder and Zak DeOssie the long-snapper. The three have a close bond and help each other through both the physical and mental aspects of their jobs.
So when Brown missed a 53-yard field goal wide right in the preseason opener a week ago, they met and worked through it. A week later, Brown nailed his 53-yarder.
"We've got a good group and we're pretty open and transparent with one another about what we need to be doing to be consistent," Brown said. "We worked on those things this week and it showed up [Saturday]."