We know what Domenik Hixon probably thinks of the New Meadowlands Stadium. But the guy whose perspective I really wanted to get today was kicker Lawrence Tynes, who’ll be charged with getting the ball through the uprights in the new surroundings. Yesterday was his first day kicking there.
“It was interesting,” he said. “It was different.”
He said it was good to see how open the corners of the stadium are and get a feel for the winds. Although it wasn’t particularly breezy yesterday – certainly nothing like it will be in November and December – Tynes said there are definitely some quirks to the patterns.
“The way we kicked field goals yesterday was into the wind, and then I went to the 50 and looked at the same upright and the wind was at my back,” Tynes said. “That was my first day in there. I think it can be tricky, but as the home team we’ll have to use that to our advantage.”
Tynes said he intends on practicing in the stadium two or three times a week this July to get a better feel for the place. He also thinks he’ll be joined there by punters Jy Bond and Matt Dodge. Those guys won’t only be working on their punting, though. They’ll be holding for Tynes.
The job description for Giants punter this year will also include holding for the kicker, and it’s something that neither candidate has any serious experience with. Jeff Feagles, who has been working with them on their punts, has also been tutoring the two on holding.
“It’s under construction,” Tynes said of the exchange. “You’re talking about two guys who have never held before and they’re working really, really hard at it. They’re getting better. We’ve gotten better every week, but we’re not anywhere near where we need to be.”
One of the problems that Dodge might have is his strength. The rookie has the physique of a body builder – Tynes called him The Hulk – and it can hamper his fluidity in the movement of catching the ball and bringing it down to the turf.
“His problem is from here to here, catch and move,” Tynes said of Dodge, imitating the act of putting a ball on its end and comparing Dodge’s motion to a claw game. “It’s like that little arm where you get dolls. It’s kind of robotic.”
Still, Tynes has hopes for the two punters.
“The thing is, you have to take reps,” he said. “Whether it’s at home and having someone throw you the ball, like Jeff said, you have to take 1,000 reps. You’re talking about two guys who have never held and it’s a very, very difficult position to do. They’re grasping it. They’re good enough athletes.”