Worry not, Steve Weatherford is in safe hands.
In his seventh season and with 449 punts under his belt, Weatherford has never been on the wrong end of what happened to Brad Nortman last week against Tampa Bay – having one blocked.
In the Bucs’ Week 1 victory over the Carolina Panthers, Tampa Bay cornerback Aqib Talib broke free on the edge and got to the rookie punter. The Bucs recovered and kicked a field goal on the ensuing drive for a nine-point lead in the fourth quarter.
Making sure that won’t happen to Weatherford this week is Chase Blackburn, who has taken over the role of personal protector so far this season. Otherwise known as the fullback on the punt team, it was Tyler Sash’s position last season. The second-year safety was suspended for the first four games of 2012 by the NFL.
Blackburn, once the special teams captain back in 2010, has Weatherford covered as the last line of defense.
“He knows it better than anybody,” Weatherford said of Blackburn, an eight-year veteran. “I think he knows it probably even better than Sash, and that’s Sash’s position. Chase is extremely intelligent and he’s skilled, too. I feel 100 percent confident that he’ll make the right calls and make the blocks he needs to make. So we’re confident going into it. We don’t want to relax or anything, it’s pedal to the floor right now, but we’re excited for the challenge.”
Tom Quinn, who has been the Giants’ special teams coordinator since 2007, sees the same thing from the multifaceted Blackburn.
“He’s done that before for us,” Quinn said. “One game, I think it was 2010, he played guard one snap, fullback the next snap, the other guard the other snap. So he’s really versatile and he’s been here a long time and understands what we want.”
Quinn then broke down what he saw from Tampa’s special teams outfit under Bob Ligashesky, one of many new hires this season in Greg Schiano’s regime.
“It was well schemed and well executed,” Quinn said. “They are a very good punt-blocking team and they have speed and power. So it will be a big test for us protection-wise.”
Tags: Chase Blackburn, Steve Weatherford, Tom Quinn
Posted in Daily Blitz | 3 Comments »
Final preseason game. Starters on the bench. A 6-3 final score.
Steve Weatherford is jacked.
While a combined three field goals in 60 minutes of play might not be everyone’s favorite brand of football, it did give the punters a workout on Wednesday night as the preseason drew to a close.
There were 18 total punts in the defending champs’ victory, split evenly between the Giants’ Weatherford and the Patriots’ Zoltan Mesko. Weatherford punted nine times (seven in the first half alone) for a 52.0-yard average and a long of 64. He also had boots of 59, 52, 55, and 58 yards, with two downed inside the 20-yard line.
“Having a performance like that going into the regular season, it’s actually a boost of confidence,” he said after the game. “I was confident going into this game, but coming out of this game, I thought I punted really well. There are still some things I want to work on, but for the most part I’m happy walking out of here.”
The amount of punts wasn’t shocking to Weatherford not only because it was the final exhibition game, but also because it was against the Patriots. Despite two elite quarterbacks on each side, a matchup between two teams with a lot of history together often equates to a field position battle.
Case in point: Weatherford punted eight times in last year’s Week 9 matchup, pinning five inside the 20. Then again in Super Bowl XLVI, Weatherford had four punts, three of which were downed inside the 20.
“It was a field position game,” Weatherford said. “It usually is when we play these guys. I think about the last couple times I played them, we both have great quarterbacks – obviously Tom Brady wasn’t playing tonight – but when he is, it’s a field position battle. So tonight they relied on me a little bit, and I was happy with the outcome.”
Punting isn’t his only duty, though. Weatherford held Lawrence Tynes’ late 32-yard field goal, which wound up being the clincher in Wednesday night’s victory. It wasn’t exactly in the mud at Candlestick Park to win the NFC Championship, but it was good to get the rep in before the regular season kicks off in less than a week.
“Tynes has hit some bigger ones than that one,” Weatherford joked. “But it was fun to be a part of.”
Tags: Steve Weatherford
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0:00 — FINAL: GIANTS 6, PATRIOTS 3
1:07 — FIELD GOAL: GIANTS. Lawrence Tynes knocks in a 32-yard field goal, giving the Giants a 6-3 lead late in the game.
4:31 — Dan DePalma gets in on the action and makes a 10-yard grab while taking a hard hit.
*Paid attendance announced: 75,530
13:29 — Ojomo moves the pile and helps stop RB Jeff Demps for a loss of 1 at the New England 6.
13:38 — Weatherford downs his seventh punt inside the 20-yard line, his second of the game. Patriots take over at their own 10.
Tags: Adewale Ojomo, Steve Weatherford
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0:00 — PATRIOTS 3, GIANTS 0 (key stat: Weatherford punted six times in the half with a long of 64 yards and an average of 55.3)
1:11 — Rueben Randle back to return punts for the first time tonight, signals fair catch.
2:00 — Broha puts a good hit on Mallett for a sack. He has 1.5 on the night.
8:17 — Backup QB David Carr takes over for Manning, who finishes 4/8 for 29 yards.
*Heading into Friday’s roster cuts to 53, this final preseason game is a last chance for fringe players to leave an impression. On defense, players like Matt Broha (3 tackles 0.5 sacks), Dwayne Hendricks (4 tackles), Adewale Ojomo (1 tackle), Craig Marshall (3 tackles, 0.5 sacks), and Markus Kuhn (1 tackle) doing a good job of that so far.
8:27 — FIELD GOAL: PATRIOTS. Patriots 3, Giants 0 (drive 12 plays, 51 yards in 4:58)
15:00 — Matt Broha and Craig Marshall (starting in place of Jason Pierre-Paul and Justin Tuck, respectively) combine for a sack of Patriots QB Ryan Mallett.
Tags: David Carr, Rueben Randle, Steve Weatherford
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0:00 — GIANTS 0, PATRIOTS 0 (key stat: Eli Manning has played three series so far)
6:13 — Steve Weatherford boots a 59-year punt that rolls out of bounds, pinning the Patriots back at their own 10. It was his longest of the preseason. Good play especially on a #WeatherfordWednesday.
9:30 — Returning from a foot injury, Hakeem Nicks grabs his first reception of the preseason on the first ball thrown to him, a six-yard pickup over the middle.
10:53 — Antrel Rolle makes a nice open field tackle, wrapping up FB Eric Kattani until reinforcements arrived.
13:48 — Jacquian Williams, making his first appearance of the preseason, nearly intercepts a pass on the left sideline, which would have been a sure pick-six. Nonetheless, the ball falls incomplete, and the Giants force Patriots to punt. *Jerrel Jernigan getting his turn tonight fielding punts.
15:00 — Game Day Captains: WR Domenik Hixon, TE Bear Pascoe, LB Keith Rivers. Patriots win the toss and elect to receive. Giants will defend the west goal.
Kickoff: 7:00 pm ET
Location: MetLife Stadium, E. Rutherford, NJ
TV: NFL Network
Weather: Partly Cloudy. 79 °F, Wind: WNW 8 mph
» Sean Locklear will start at LT in place of Will Beatty
» Mitch Petrus will start at RG in place of Chris Snee
» David Wilson will start at RB in place of Ahmad Bradshaw
» Craig Marshall will start at LDE in place of Justin Tuck
» Matt Broha will start at RDE in place of Jason Pierre-Paul
» Jacquian Williams will start at LB in place of Mathias Kiwanuka
» Keith Rivers will start at LB in place of Michael Boley
» Michael Coe will start at CB in place of Prince Amukamara
Tags: Bear Pascoe, Domenik Hixon, Hakeem Nicks, Jacquian Williams, Keith Rivers, Steve Weatherford
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The punter who became famous for wearing a wedding ring during games helped a fan hand out his own this weekend.
Yesterday after practice, punter Steve Weatherford walked off the field and delivered a football to a man named Bryan Wheeler, who in return handed it off to Jacklene Murt.
The inscription on the ball read: “Jacklene, will you marry me? Love, Bryan.”
It did the trick.
“I thought it went great, she said yes,” Weatherford said on Monday. “I don’t know if I’ll get invited to the wedding or not. It was fun. It was very flattering to be requested to do that. It was a lot of fun.”
Weatherford’s own wedding band made headlines in January, when the world saw him wear it as he held Lawrence-Tynes’ game-winning field goal that sent the Giants to Super Bowl XLVI.
So he was happy to help and explained how it went down.
“I think he contacted our community relations people and requested that the craziest guy on the team help him out,” Weatherford said. “I don’t think he had to look too far down the roster…Obviously whenever you get to do something like that, it’s flattering because it makes you realize how important you are to a lot of people. The guy hopefully, cross your fingers, is only going to get married once, and I was the one to help him get engaged.”
Tags: Steve Weatherford, Super Bowl
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