NFL Nation: 2010 Week 14 High Energy NFC

NFC West High Energy Player of the Week

December, 14, 2010
12/14/10
3:07
PM ET
NFC High Energy: East | West | North | South AFC: East | West | North | South

A look at a player who gave his team a significant boost in Week 14.

[+] EnlargeJay Feely
Christian Petersen/Getty ImagesJay Feely outraced the Broncos' field goal coverage unit to score a touchdown.
Arizona Cardinals holder Ben Graham placed the football on the ground with 4:08 showing on the game clock in the first half.

Kicker Jay Feely stepped once toward the ball as if intending to kick it, then darted around to his right and took the pitch from Graham near the left hash at the Denver Broncos' 15-yard line.

The race was on.

Jason Hunter, a 270-pound outside linebacker, picked up the chase from between the hashes at the 9-yard line. An NFL scout I know listed Hunter's 40-yard time at 4.52 seconds when the linebacker was a 250-pounder coming out of Appalachian State five years ago.

Feely, speaking by phone Tuesday, said he ran the 40 in about 4.6 seconds as a soccer forward in college. That was more than a decade ago, but no matter. Feely, 34, outran Hunter to the pylon and was pulling away as he crossed the goal line.

"It's fun as a kicker to get a chance to show off your athleticism a little bit," Feely said.

The highlight for Feely: sharing the moment with his 7-year-old son, Jace, who accompanied him onto the field after the game and at a postgame interview session.

"It was one of the coolest moments of my career," Feely said. "I have been wanting and hoping to play long enough for him to be old enough to truly appreciate it. It was special for Dad and for son."

Feely scored 25 points in the Cardinals' 43-13 victory. That included the only 22 points scored in the game across two-plus quarters, making Feely the first player since Paul Hornung in 1961 to accomplish the feat.

Feely also made a tackle during a kickoff return. All that was missing, at least from a kicker's perspective, was a game-winning kick at the end. Given the Cardinals' recent struggles, however, Feely said he preferred seeing his team play well enough to put away the game more comfortably.

The rushing touchdown alone separated Feely as I considered several worthy candidates -- notably Brian Westbrook, Alex Smith, Dashon Goldson, Adrian Wilson and Tim Hightower -- for the weekly High Energy award. How many times does a kicker qualify, anyway?

"We had been waiting for a long time to run that fake," Feely said. "We had wanted to run it 3-4 times in the season, but something would always happen."

Several factors go into the decision to run a fake. Once the head coach decides to consider the call, the kicker must alert teammates already on the field without tipping off the defense. The kicker then must make sure the defense is aligned in a manner conducive to the fake.

All factors came together Sunday.

Feely's first career rushing touchdown gave him as many this season as established NFL backs DeAngelo Williams, Donald Brown and Pierre Thomas.

"For me, getting the tackle is the cherry on top of it," Feely said.

NFC West High Energy Player of the Week

December, 14, 2010
12/14/10
3:06
PM ET
NFC High Energy: East | West | North | South AFC: East | West | North | South

A look at a player who gave his team a significant boost in Week 14.

[+] EnlargeJay Feely
Christian Petersen/Getty ImagesJay Feely outraced the Broncos' field goal coverage unit to score a touchdown.
Arizona Cardinals holder Ben Graham placed the football on the ground with 4:08 showing on the game clock in the first half.

Kicker Jay Feely stepped once toward the ball as if intending to kick it, then darted around to his right and took the pitch from Graham near the left hash at the Denver Broncos' 15-yard line.

The race was on.

Jason Hunter, a 270-pound outside linebacker, picked up the chase from between the hashes at the 9-yard line. An NFL scout I know listed Hunter's 40-yard time at 4.52 seconds when the linebacker was a 250-pounder coming out of Appalachian State five years ago.

Feely, speaking by phone Tuesday, said he ran the 40 in about 4.6 seconds as a soccer forward in college. That was more than a decade ago, but no matter. Feely, 34, outran Hunter to the pylon and was pulling away as he crossed the goal line.

"It's fun as a kicker to get a chance to show off your athleticism a little bit," Feely said.

The highlight for Feely: sharing the moment with his 7-year-old son, Jace, who accompanied him onto the field after the game and at a postgame interview session.

"It was one of the coolest moments of my career," Feely said. "I have been wanting and hoping to play long enough for him to be old enough to truly appreciate it. It was special for Dad and for son."

Feely scored 25 points in the Cardinals' 43-13 victory. That included the only 22 points scored in the game across two-plus quarters, making Feely the first player since Paul Hornung in 1961 to accomplish the feat.

Feely also made a tackle during a kickoff return. All that was missing, at least from a kicker's perspective, was a game-winning kick at the end. Given the Cardinals' recent struggles, however, Feely said he preferred seeing his team play well enough to put away the game more comfortably.

The rushing touchdown alone separated Feely as I considered several worthy candidates -- notably Brian Westbrook, Alex Smith, Dashon Goldson, Adrian Wilson and Tim Hightower -- for the weekly High Energy award. How many times does a kicker qualify, anyway?

"We had been waiting for a long time to run that fake," Feely said. "We had wanted to run it 3-4 times in the season, but something would always happen."

Several factors go into the decision to run a fake. Once the head coach decides to consider the call, the kicker must alert teammates already on the field without tipping off the defense. The kicker then must make sure the defense is aligned in a manner conducive to the fake.

All factors came together Sunday.

Feely's first career rushing touchdown gave him as many this season as established NFL backs DeAngelo Williams, Donald Brown and Pierre Thomas.

"For me, getting the tackle is the cherry on top of it," Feely said.
NFC High Energy: East | West | North | South AFC: East | West | North | South

A look at a player who gave his team a significant boost in Week 14.

Few noticed when the Detroit Lions made a quiet waiver claim on Sept. 6. Stefan Logan had been as productive playmaker in the CFL and set a single-season record in kickoff return yardage last season for the Pittsburgh Steelers. He was deemed expendable in Pittsburgh but was a perfect fit for a team that had no established returner.

[+] EnlargeStefan Logan
Gregory Shamus/Getty ImagesStefan Logan contributed to the Lions upset win over the Packers on offense and special teams.
In Week 14, Logan proved himself to be a multidimensional player who has achieved elite status on special teams and can now be an exciting change of pace on offense as well. In Sunday's 7-3 victory over the Green Bay Packers, Logan had a 35-yard kickoff return, averaged 9.3 yards on four punt returns and gained 30 yards on five carries as a running back/receiver.

For the season, Logan ranks second in the NFL in average kickoff return yardage (28.8) and fourth in average punt returns (12.9). At 5-foot-6 and 180 pounds, Logan also has a regular role on kick coverage units.

"He's a playmaker," coach Jim Schwartz said. "... We've given him a little bit on offense; some reverses and things like that and just expanded that role a little bit. He gets a lot of attention when he goes in the game, so you can use him as a decoy at times. Plus, if he's out there, people need to respect his ability to run and get open and things like that so you see a lot of people match with nickel and -- in those cases -- we were getting him back into the backfield and running the ball with him. So he's just a multidimensional player."
NFC High Energy: East | West | North | South AFC: East | West | North | South

A look at a player who gave his team a significant boost in Week 14.

[+] EnlargeMalcolm Jenkins
Derick E. Hingle/US PresswireMalcolm Jenkins' interception return for a touchdown changed the momentum of Sunday's game.
I just sent a personal thank-you note to New Orleans safety Malcolm Jenkins for making this award easier to decide than any other week this season.

All the second-year pro did in Sunday's 31-13 victory against St. Louis was continue to show why he's one of the league's emerging stars and show New Orleans fans that the Saints really did know what they were doing in the offseason when they decided to move Jenkins from cornerback to safety to take over for the aging Darren Sharper.

I don't want to say I told you so, but I suggested, much to the chagrin of some New Orleans fans, several times in the offseason that the Saints simply were creating a younger version of Sharper. Turns out that's precisely what they've done.

Against the Rams, Jenkins picked off a Sam Bradford pass and returned it 96 yards for a touchdown. He also picked off Bradford in the fourth quarter.

After the game, coach Sean Payton quipped that the ball has a way of finding Jenkins. There's some truth to that. But the reality is Jenkins has a knack for finding the ball, and the world is just starting to realize how good he is.

NFC East High Energy Player of the Week

December, 14, 2010
12/14/10
3:00
PM ET
NFC High Energy: East | West | North | South AFC: East | West | North | South

A look at a player who gave his team a significant boost in Week 14.

[+] EnlargeDeSean Jackson
AP Photo/Brian GarfinkelDeSean Jackson had 210 yards receiving on just four catches Sunday.
It's not all that difficult to decide on the High Energy award winner when a player averages 52.5 yards on four catches and has a game-turning touchdown. Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson opened Sunday night's game with a 60-yard catch after quarterback Michael Vick bought himself some time by selling the defense that he was going to roll right and then peeling in the other direction. Watching Jackson sprint downfield when Vick's standing in the pocket is one of the most exciting things in the game.

The Eagles feed off of Jackson's playmaking ability and energy. And that's why coach Andy Reid puts up with some of his immaturity. For instance, he's not thrilled when Jackson comes to an abrupt halt at the 1-yard line and takes the Nestea plunge into the end zone.

When you have a player with Jackson's unique skills, they can make up for a lot of other deficiencies. The Eagles know they can explode for touchdowns at any minute because of Jackson's ability to find a gear that perhaps no defender in the league can match. He became only the third player in league history to have 200 yards receiving on four or fewer catches.

And that's why he's our High Energy Player of the Week.

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