EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – The NFL has temporarily made Josh Brown’s job harder, and he’s all for it.
Brown and/or Brandon McManus, who are competing for the placekicking job, will have another opportunity to boot long PATs tomorrow night, when the Giants host the Pittsburgh Steelers in MetLife Stadium.
“Everybody wants to just sit there and continue to make it and that’s fine,” said Brown, who has missed just two of 343 extra point tries in his 11-year career. “I think it’s a good thing for the kicking game and kickers in general to really accept the challenge. We have gotten exceptionally good at our craft. We’ve done that through years of experience and years of understanding the dynamics of what makes the ball fly the way that it does and understanding our technique. Guys are good, it shouldn’t be any issue. But there will be issues, we’re all human. It’s definitely going to inject a little bit more excitement and intensity into that moment.”
“It’s a little bit different,” special teams coordinator Tom Quinn said. “You see after the touchdown everyone goes up to the two (yard line), then slides back. We’ve been doing it all camp, so it hasn’t been an issue.”
Head coaches might not like a rule change, because it would force them to make more decisions. What would happen, for example, if a team scores a touchdown late in the fourth quarter to pull within a point of its opponent on a rainy, windy day? Would a coach want to risk kicking a tying extra point in those conditions, knowing if he missed, he would likely lose? Or would he put the ball on the two-yard line and go for two points? What if the kicking team is penalized five yards for a false start? Would a coach opt to attempt a 38-yard extra point or a two-yard two-point conversion?
“That’s part of that injection of excitement and intensity in the moment,” Brown said. “All of those variables go into it. I believe it shakes it up, given the situation, the time of year, it changes how the coaches think about their options. A two-point conversion or PAT is based on how your kicker is doing at the time. If he’s on a roll, if he’s striking the ball well, if he’s missed that day, his frame of mind. I just think it brings a new dynamic to the game. Until now, PATs have been pretty much a sure thing.”
After running back Andre Williams scored the first touchdown of the NFL preseason with 49 seconds remaining in the first quarter last week, Brown trotted onto the field in Fawcett Stadium to attempt a 33-yard extra point.
The league experiment has led to changes in how the Giants special teams have practiced this summer.
“Typically in like a team session, a field goal session, you would start with a PAT and then you would back up from there,” Brown said. “Now we start with a PAT from the 15 and back up from there. We don’t really kick anything inside a 33-yard field goal. You don’t kick a PAT and then kick a 33-yard field goal. You back up to 38, 43, 40, you just keep going the other way.”
The Giants will play two more games under the experimental spot. Beginning with preseason Week 4, extra points will again be spotted at the two-yard line, where they will stay for the rest of the season. But Brown likes the change of the longer kick and supports the league adopting it fulltime.
“It’s going to force guys to stay very mentally engaged the whole entire game,” he said. “It’s really going to throw a wrench in the way people have done things and bring a new dynamic to that play.”
Pro Bowl safety Antrel Rolle has had to leave his perch in the back of the defense periodically the past few seasons to play in the slot, a move he doesn’t relish. With free agent acquisition Walter Thurmond playing so well at nickel corner, Rolle hasn’t had to work there. But that doesn’t mean defensive coordinator Perry Fewell is letting Rolle relax.
“Any time I want to put him in his place, I say, ‘I’m going to put you back at nickel,’” Fewell said.
Rolle has been one of the Giants’ best and most valuable defensive players. Fewell was asked how good Rolle can be as a fulltime safety.
“That’s up to Antrel,” he said. “We’re giving him all the reps back there. He uses the term, ‘I’m getting my eyes back.’ So he can now see the field, instead of seeing down in the box and the perimeter. Now he sees the entire field. I think that’s important for him to develop that to become as good as he can be as a safety.”
- The Giants lead the preseason series with Pittsburgh, 14-12, including an 18-13 victory last summer. The teams first met in a preseason game on Aug. 22, 1952 – a 24-10 Giants victory in Des Moines, Iowa. The Giants and Steelers played each other every summer from 1978-89. They did not meet in the preseason from 1993-2009.
- Fans who attend the Giants’ home game Saturday vs. Pittsburgh are urged to aware of the NFL Bag Policy. Details of the policy can be found at Giants.com/tickets.
- Traffic Advisory for leaving MetLife Stadium on Saturday night: The New Jersey Turnpike will be closing the northbound I-95 express lanes between I-80 and the George Washington Bridge from 9 p.m. Saturday – 6 a.m. Sunday with all traffic diverted to the local lanes. Fans who normally travel that route when leaving Giants games should consider an alternate route.