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Old 06-20-2007, 05:07 AM  
keg in kc keg in kc is offline
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Gretz: A Baby Kicker

I wonder how many games he'll be suspended for kicking babies?


GRETZ: A Baby Kicker

Jun 20, 2007, 3:38:07 AM by Bob Gretz - FAQ

In general, kickers tend to send football coaches running for the pink stuff.

With rookie kickers, it’s double the Pepto.

Still, Herm Edwards and Mike Priefer have not ordered extra cases of stomach settler even though they have decided to go with rookie kicker Justin Medlock, a fifth-round draft choice out of UCLA.

They know there may be some ups and downs. Edwards has been there before, just two years ago when the Jets drafted kicker Mike Nugent out of Ohio State.

Both Edwards and Priefer have a lot of confidence in Medlock and what he can bring to the Chiefs.

“He was very consistent in college,” Priefer said. “He comes in here with a strong leg, plus he’s as very good technician. It’s going to be tough at times with a rookie kicker. It’s a tough position to break into the NFL.

“I’m excited to see where we can get him to.”

Inconsistency had the Chiefs looking for alternatives to Lawrence Tynes, whose production dropped last year compared to the 2005 season. His overall field goal percentage fell from 82 percent to 77 percent. That had the Chiefs ranked 20th out of 32 teams in field goal percentage. Those numbers do not include the 23-yard attempt against Indianapolis in the playoffs that banged off an upright.

The 2007 season figures to be a time with a lot of games where the scoreboard will read 13-10, 17-14, 20-17; scores of that nature. If the Chiefs are going to win those types of games, they will need a rock-solid kicker, a guy who is going to be 90 percent or better inside the 40-yard line and 85 percent or better overall.

Last season, there were 18 kickers in the league that were 90 percent or better inside the 40-yard line. Tynes was 14 of 16, or 87.5 percent. There were 13 kickers who finished the season 85 percent or better on all kicks, no matter the distance. Again, Tynes was 77 percent, which left him ranked 21st in the league.

“L.T. is still a very good kicker in my opinion,” Priefer said. “Inside the 40-yard line, he needed to be more consistent. We have to make the field goals inside the 40, we want to be real consistent between the 40 and 49 and if you are 50 percent over 50, then you are doing a good job. I think this young man can do that for us. I think Justin has the ability to do that.”

Medlock was the first kicker selected in the 2007 NFL Draft, after a 49-game career at UCLA. He made 79.5 percent of his field goal attempts (70 of 88) in four seasons of kicking for the Bruins. Last year he was 28 of 32, or 87.5 percent.

Inside the 40-yard line over four seasons, Medlock was 39 of 46 for 85 percent. Last season he was 21 of 22 inside the 40-yard line for 95.6 percent and over the last two seasons, he was 27 of 29, 93.1 percent.

That’s college football. There’s so much that goes with the transition to the NFL. That’s why rookie kickers seldom make it in the league. Last year there were 37 kickers who attempted an NFL field goal. Only 10 of those kickers were playing for the team where they broke into the league. That’s 27 percent. Their current teams drafted all but two of those kickers. The other two were Tynes (Chiefs) and Michael Koenen (Atlanta.) Here are those eight drafted kickers and how they handled their first season in the league:



On average, those eight rookie kickers averaged 76.3 percent of their field goals overall in that first season, with 91 percent inside the 40-yard line and 80.9 inside the 50-yard line.

The Chiefs would take that 91 percent mark inside the 40-yard line right now from Medlock.

Also part of Medlock’s job will be handling kickoffs. Last year, the Chiefs gave up an average kick return of 23.2 yards and they tied for 22nd in that category. Opponents starting field position after receiving a kickoff averaged the 29.1-yard line, which left the Chiefs ranked 28th. Tynes had just five touchbacks on kickoffs, ranking in a tie for 25th in the league.

There were questions about Medlock and his kickoffs coming into the NFL, but upon investigation Priefer found that part of his problem was the directional kicking he was asked to do at UCLA.

“He was normally asked to kick to his right and with directional kicking you are not going to get the kind of distance that you would if you kicked away,” Priefer said. “What I would like to do is try to get as much distance with the kickoffs as possible. I’m not a big directional kickoff guy unless the young man can do it. I asked Lawrence to kick away 90 percent of the time last year, because there was too much distance taken off his kicks when we went directional.

“If we ask him to do the right things and he gains some confidence, that will help. We’ve already changed his technique on kickoff. We’ve asked him to comeback a little bit farther to get a little bit more of an approach on the ball, attacking the ball more than he did in college.”

In the last two seasons at UCLA, no opponent returned a kickoff for a touchdown against the Bruins, as they averaged 20.4 (’06) and 19.5 (’05) on a total of 91 returns.

“Just like in punting, it’s not always the guy kicking the ball,” said Priefer. “We’ve got to put it together from the kick to the coverage. That’s going to be very important for us, because it’s all about field position.”
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Old 06-20-2007, 09:04 AM   #2
Count Zarth Count Zarth is online now
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Quote:
“He was normally asked to kick to his right and with directional kicking you are not going to get the kind of distance that you would if you kicked away,” Priefer said. “What I would like to do is try to get as much distance with the kickoffs as possible. I’m not a big directional kickoff guy unless the young man can do it. I asked Lawrence to kick away 90 percent of the time last year, because there was too much distance taken off his kicks when we went directional.
I'll be shocked if Medlock's kickoffs are worth a shit. We heard this same song and dance last year with Tynes.
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Old 06-20-2007, 11:12 AM   #3
John_Wayne John_Wayne is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GoChiefs
We heard this same song and dance last year with Tynes.
I heard no one singing and saw no one dancing last year. Explain.
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Old 06-20-2007, 11:37 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gunther_Fan
I heard no one singing and saw no one dancing last year. Explain.
There was an article last year in the Star about how the new special teams coach was going to make Tynes kickoffs spectacular by eliminating directional kicking. Lo and behold, they were about the same.
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Old 06-20-2007, 01:16 PM   #5
StcChief StcChief is offline
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UCLA...wait and see.

Weather factor here in KC. Dungver
Oakland (bay wind?)

less of an issue in SD more like LA.

Dome games Det/Indy Houston?

Dec games Jets/Titans
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Old 06-20-2007, 01:19 PM   #6
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A baby kicker!?!?!?

The sonofabitch should be in jail.
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Old 06-20-2007, 01:22 PM   #7
Thig Lyfe Thig Lyfe is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scott free
A baby kicker!?!?!?

The sonofabitch should be in jail.
Why?

Now, if he were a baby-kicker, then yes. In that case he should be in jail.
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Old 06-20-2007, 01:23 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StcChief
UCLA...wait and see.

Weather factor here in KC. Dungver
Oakland (bay wind?)

less of an issue in SD more like LA.

Dome games Det/Indy Houston?

Dec games Jets/Titans
He played away games at places like ND, Wash, and Oregon.
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