Lawrence Tynes has missed three of his last five field goal attempts. They’ll go in his stat column. They’ll be brought up when he goes in to negotiate his next contract. They might even start to bang around inside his helmet and influence future kicks.
But they’re hurting Matt Dodge, the rookie punter and holder who has been responsible for two of the three misses with either shaky or late holds.
“I would rather punt badly all game and have great holds because I’m directly affecting how he performs,” Dodge said yesterday. “That breaks my heart more than anything for it not to be a stellar hold and have it be a miss.”
Dodge has been erratic to say the least in his first four NFL games, but the Giants are showing him immense patience. Tom Coughlin sees a bright future for him and catches a glimpse of that every once in a while, enough to keep Dodge around. That the Giants used a valuable draft pick – a seventh-rounder, but still valuable – to pick Dodge has also helped him stick.
But I would guess that patience from Coughlin and special teams coach Tom Quinn is one thing. Patience from Tynes is quite another.
Dodge said Tynes has been supportive.
“He’s been extremely encouraging,” Dodge said. “I know the missed field goal (a 38-yard attempt on Sunday night), it wasn’t the best operation and it definitely wasn’t the best hold. For him to say ‘All right, no worries, we’ll get it next time.’ I know I probably wouldn’t have that much patience.”
Tynes may say those encouraging words, but it has to be frustrating for him to have his rhythm in the hands of Dodge. I asked Dodge if he believes Tynes when he says those things.
“I can just go by what he says to me,” Dodge said. “He knows I’m new at this and he knows we have the potential to be together for a long time. He’s extremely patient He’s such a great kicker and he knows his ability is going to take over. He can kick such a true ball, so I pretty much just have to get it close to the spot and he’ll put it through.”