I walked into practice today and the first thing I saw was a punt from Steve Weatherford sailing about 15 yards out of bounds.
Yes, it’s Giants-Eagles week. And that intensity trickles down to every last member of the football team. In this case, the last member of the football team is the punter.
Last year’s game against the Eagles obviously ended with Matt Dodge punting a ball down the middle of the field to DeSean Jackson, who returned it 65 yards to cap a ridiculous comeback (or collapse, based on your point of view). So it was no surprise that Weatherford, Dodge’s replacement, spent a good deal of the practice angling kicks towards the sideline and beyond. He does that normally in every practice, I should note. It just stands out more this week.
Weatherford was not available in the locker room today, but special teams captain Zak DeOssie was. He said there is a focus on covering punts this week, but it has nothing to do with the past.
“If you don’t cover well enough, those things happen,” DeOssie said of last year’s return. “So we have to focus on our coverage. I don’t think it’s as a result of that game.”
DeOssie, the longsnapper, was asked if the Giants were “on their heels” on that punt to Jackson last year, figuring that the ball would go out of bounds.
“We assume we’re covering every kick no matter what was told,” he said. “The punter was told to do one thing, but we know which way the direction is going and we cover hard. We cover it as much as we can no matter what.”
DeOssie was hit hard on the play by Jason Avant, who suffered a concussion because of it.
“The play has been all over (television), it’s one of the biggest plays in the history of football,” DeOssie said. “But that stuff happens. There’s nothing I can do about it except move on and get better.”