Lawrence Tynes would understandably not want to give up many reps to a replacement kicker. The last time the team brought someone in for a few weeks while Tynes recovered from an injury he would up going to the Pro Bowl (that would be John Carney in 2009). So with Tynes sidelined now with a thigh bruise, you could understand why he might not want the Giants to bring in someone like Shayne Graham, who they worked out this afternoon.
Not to worry, Lawrence. The Giants signed perhaps the most non-threatening kicker in the league.
The team announced tonight that it had acquired free agent Rhys Lloyd, a kicker technically but mostly a kickoff specialist. Lloyd has played in 50 NFL games and has kicked off 220 times, but has never attempted a regular season field goal or extra point.
Sixty-four of his 220 kickoffs have been touchbacks, a rate of 29.1 percent. In 2008, he led the NFL with 30 touchbacks on 88 kickoffs (34.1 percent) for the Panthers. The Giants had some interest in him last year before he signed with the Vikings. They wound up releasing him anyway and Lloyd went back to the Panthers and had 11 touchbacks on 50 kickoffs in 2010.
With the new rules that have teams kicking off from the 35, a strong leg could be a dangerous weapon and provide even more touchbacks than normal. While teams have been aggressive in coming out from deep in the end zone in preseason games, mostly just to practice, Tom Coughlin said today that he would think teams will become more conservative in that regard once the regular season begins. The Giants' kickoff coverage was not great this weekend. If they can force touchbacks, it would hide a lot of sins.
While Tynes shouldn’t be sweating this move because he’ll still be the team’s place kicker, it may not bode well for Matt Dodge. He’s the strong-legged punter who had been trying to kick off for the Giants for the last week or so with mixed results. With Lloyd on the roster, it’s one less thing for Dodge to be able to do. Tynes had said this week that he would happily forfeit the kickoff duties to Dodge or anyone else who wanted it.
Of course, Tynes and Dodge still have jobs for now. To make room on the roster for Lloyd, the Giants waived/injured cornerback Woodny Turenne (calf). He’s the real victim here.