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Giants Specialists put in the work


While normally leading the league in scoring and deciding monumental games like this past championship weekend, kickers can be undervalued.

You won't be hearing that from Justin Tuck, who said as much after a full day to digest Lawrence Tynes' overtime winner in the NFC Championship.

The defensive captain said he originally shied away from looking at the kick, but then it clicked who was out there.

"I remember that kick going up, I didn't want to watch," Tuck said on Tuesday. "But then I started to think about it. I turned around and watched it and I was like, 'I'm not even surprised at all.'"

Tynes, who continued to mirror the image of the 2007 run to the Super Bowl, is not like other kickers Tuck has been around.

"He is one of the more confident people on our football team, and he's kind of arrogant at times, too," Tuck continued. "Sometimes kickers can be kind of like outcasts on a team just because no one can talk to them while they're getting prepared or stuff like that. But he just seems like he's always been kind of a jokester about situations like that. It seems like the pressure really doesn't get to him, and that's how he kind of lives his day-to-day."

Tuck didn't stop at Tynes.

What he terms his "specialists," Tuck also sees long snapper Zak DeOssie and punter Steve Weatherford, who held Tynes' kick, putting in the work every day.

From Weatherford catching balls with his opposite left hand from DeOssie to Tynes practicing a quicker one-step motion, the trio's practice doesn't stop after team warm-ups.

"They're always in the weight room, and I always ask them like 'That's not going to help you,'" Tuck said. "If you see the guys, Weatherford probably has like three-percent body fat. They're always competing in pushups and things like that…I don't know anything about kicking myself, but it's good to see those guys continuously working. Most times, you see kickers, they'll kick the first part of practice and kind of go in and be done with it. But those guys have stayed out at practice all year long and continue to work on their craft."

Meanwhile, a few hours prior to the dramatic end in San Francisco, the closing minutes of the Ravens-Patriots game were being shown on the video screens inside Candlestick Park.

Baltimore kicker Billy Cundiff missed a 32-yard kick – three feet longer than Tynes' kick hours later – with 11 seconds remaining that let the Patriots escape with a 23-20 AFC Championship victory.

Tynes was asked about his fellow brethren.

"Billy is a great kicker. He was just in the Pro Bowl [last season]," Tynes said. "It stinks what happened. But at the end of the day, Billy will bounce back. He's a pro. He handled it very well. He didn't run and hide, and I can respect that. That's what we signed up for. It can happen to any of us."

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