Thursday, September 30, 2010
Time for Giants' Matt Dodge to grow up
By Dan Graziano
Watching New York Giants coach Tom Coughlin race toward rookie punter Matt Dodge on Sunday after he delivered a line-drive free kick following a Titans safety, I thought he might cut him on the spot. But the Giants will stick with Dodge this week against the Bears' dangerous returner, Devin Hester.
Hester had a 62-yard punt return for a touchdown against the Packers on Monday, so Coughlin has vowed to keep the ball out of his hands. That's, of course, easier said than done when your rookie punter doesn't seem to have a clue where the ball is going.
"You’ve got to believe that he’s going to recognize the level of competition and rise to the occasion,” Coughlin said. “We’re working with him every day. All day long people are in his ear and hopefully it’ll sink in."
The Giants aren't the only team in the NFC East having issues with the kicking game. The Dallas Cowboys rolled the dice with second-year place-kicker David Buehler and the results have been mixed through three games. Redskins punter Josh Bidwell suffered an injury during pregame warm-ups last Sunday and had to be replaced by kicker Graham Gano. And let's not forget about Giants kicker Lawrence Tynes who is 2-of-4 on field goal attempts and missed a 43-yarder against the Titans in the second half.