Matt Dodge is vacating his apartment in New Jersey tomorrow. Wait, wait. Before Giants fans form a parade and show up at his door ready to help pack boxes, he’s just moving out of his current place because his lease is expiring. He’ll still be around. At least for a few more hours, anyway.
“I have the hotel room until Sunday,” he said.
The verbally-abused punter has had a pretty decent preseason. Was it better than Steve Weatherford’s, the veteran who was brought in to compete against Dodge? Not even Tom Coughlin is ready to say which way he’s leaning on that one. “I have not had that talk with myself yet, to be honest with you,” Coughlin said.
Dodge, of course, carries the burden of the punt to DeSean Jackson at the end of last year’s meltdown against the Eagles. Players and coaches have come to his defense since, but the scars from that incident run deep among the team and its fans.
Weatherford, meanwhile, has had a very steady preseason. He said he’s not going to try to get into a measuring contest with the strong-legged Dodge, but Weatherford clearly has more finesse and control of his kicks than Dodge does. Also, Weatherford can hold for Lawrence Tynes. That could be a determining factor in the punter battle as well as the backup quarterback battle where Sage Rosenfels is Tynes’ preferred holder.
Dodge said he feels the same way heading into this weekend that he did last year: confident. “Whatever is supposed to happen will happen and we’ll go on from there,” he said. “I didn’t feel like I punted to the absolute best of my ability, but you never feel like you do. Just make your mis-hits effective and I feel like I did better this preseason doing that.”
As for Weatherford, he said this is his sixth year in the league and the sixth time he’s been in competition for a job. Unlike other positions, punters don’t have backups on the roster so the team has to be certain about who they keep. But Weatherford said he likes the competition of training camp and preseasons because it keeps him sharp in practices.
“It would feel weird if I didn’t (have to compete),” Weatherford said. “I think it’s good for everybody. Would it be a little less nerve-wracking to come into training camp knowing it’s your job and you’re the guy? Sure. But I don’t’ know how my season would go if that was the case. I don’t know if I’d be mentally prepared … It’s fun. It’s a stressful fun, but it’s fun.”