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New York Giants’ Steve Weatherford Reflects on 2013: “It was Disappointing”

January 11th, 2014 at 7:00 AM
By Jen Polashock

With everyone more than joyous over the news of special teams coordinator Tom Quinn staying put, there is still someone that can deliver every single day: New York Giants’ third-year punter, Steve Weatherford. While the man, the myth and the legend remains 99% positive on the daily, he does speak the truth — especially when speaking about the 2013 in retrospect.

“It’s disappointing because we had high hopes, especially with the Super Bowl being here and as much talent as we had on this team at the beginning of the year,” Weatherford exclusively told Giants.com. “But I’m proud of this team because with all the injuries we’ve gone through, starting the season 0-6 and finishing the season with winning seven of our last 10 games is encouraging.”

Weatherford also doesn’t feel as adverse to Quinn’s return as most. It’s easy to make one person a scapegoat for an entire unit.

“We didn’t take care of the ball as well as we wanted to earlier in the season, and special teams definitely hurt us with punt returns,” Weatherford said. “We had three of them this year, and that’s something I take pride in — in the previous seven years in the NFL, I gave up one. To give up three this year was really frustrating because Tom Quinn does such a great job in coaching us up. We fought, and there’s a lot of pride on this team. I think starting 0-6 and finishing the way we did says a lot about our locker room, a lot about the leaders.”

Weatherford is, in part, correct. Injuries played a huge part in the special teams’ downfall, but not all. Human error played the remaining role. Fumbles, botches, mental mistakes and multiple turnovers were almost comical at times — if you weren’t about to break something. Coaching should take part of the blame as well. The ever-struggling Giants offense didn’t assist the third unit as the 31-year-old punted 91 times this past season. The closest he came to that was in 2010 when he punted 84 times. That was when he was still with the New York Jets.

In 2013, he averaged 46.9 yards/punt (68 yards was the longest) with 25 of those 91 going inside the 20, and nine inside the 10 (seven were touchbacks and 17 were fair-caught). Aside from a couple of bad games, the punter wasn’t the problem. Unfortunately, the stat that rings out will be those returns for touchdowns. They were game- changers. While Weatherford himself did improve after his few poor games, he, much like quarterback Eli Manning, looks at himself for need to improve. He even called the season “mentally taxing.”

For this entire unit to improve, Weatherford needs help. At this moment, his kicking counterpart is unknown. Kicker Josh Brown is a pending unrestricted free agent and the team has brought in kicker Brandon McManus on a Reserve/Future contract so far. The other 10 (well, nine if you count Zak DeOssie in already) that will rotate in on the field at the same time is yet to be determined. For now, Steve Weatherford has his own plans.

“I’ll spend a lot of time with my family. They’ve missed me over the last six months, and I haven’t been the most pleasant guy to be around,” he said. “It’s been a very mentally taxing season for me. So I’m just daddy day care. I’m looking forward to it.”

Photo credit: John M Photography / Foter.com / CC BY-ND

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Tags: Brandon McManus, Eli Manning, Football, Josh Brown, New York, New York Giants, NFL, Steve Weatherford, Tom Quinn, Zak DeOssie

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2 Responses to “New York Giants’ Steve Weatherford Reflects on 2013: “It was Disappointing””

  1.  Krow says:

    Tough life. Got to feel sorry for Steve. He only makes a couple million kicking a football, but at least he gets 5 months of vacation. That will soften the blow a little.

  2.  James Stoll says:

    I wanted to pick back up on last threads discussion regarding restructuring Eli’s contract. I commented that at his current level of play, his level of pay is unwarranted and it’s strangling the team. I suggested that if your starting QB is going to play like one of the worst QBs in the league at age 33 (and statistically he was second worst), you’d be better off releasing him at the end of his current deal (he’ll be 36 when the 2016 season begins) then restructuring and moving ever more stratospheric dollars to the back end of his contract. Kujo gave me the flippant “there he is” as if to say, ridiculous. But is it?
    Think of a few things. Eli has played like dog doo-doo for 2 straight seasons. It’s not all his fault of course. He needs an offensive line for sure. But he doesn’t have one right now. We don’t know if JR will successfully rebuild that unit this off-season or next. Thus far in his tenure, Reese has turned in an awful report card when it comes to O-Linemen. If you extend Eli now by and free up $3M this year and next, but grow his 20M cap hit to 23M or higher in 2016, and the O-Line doesn’t make marked improvement in the interim, what have you accomplished other than assuring misery for a number of years beyond?
    A different analytic involves the nature of the NFL today. Rookies now come in with salary cap constraints. Thus, all the elite rookie QB prospects have to play for relative peanuts, giving their teams more $$ to invest in other areas.
    Eli is a whopping 20% of the Giants team salary. His salary has become a competitive disadvantage that his play has not balanced out.
    Third, what if what we are seeing in Eli is more than a bad O-Line? He’ll be 34 when next season starts. He’ll be in his 11th season of physical abuse. We’ve seen 2 really bad back-to-back seasons from him. What if his skills are simply beginning to erode earlier than anyone expected. It happens to many athletes. Do you want to pay more now to find out that unpleasant thought later?
    If JR is inclined to consider restructuring Eli’s contract he should at a minimum wait until after next season. If Eli turns in another stinker then we’ll know a lot more about his likely future than we know today. Eli’s not going anywhere, unless it’s on a stretcher, so there is no time pressure. It would be nice to have a couple Million more dollars to play with, but is that really enough to be meaningful?
    I love Eli. I like rooting for him. I like that he appears to be a quality human being.
    But you can’t continue to pay him so much if he is going to so under-perform. Just like Gilbride lost his job (finally) because the offense deteriorated so badly over the past two years; just like Mara has now put both Reese and Coughlin on death watch, you can’t rest forever on former performance.
    Eli hasn’t been good since 2011; instead he’s been bad, really bad. You can’t “pay” him for that now. He has not earned extra years on his contract. He has not earned his current salary or anything approaching it.
    He has to regain his form next year and convince everyone that counts that he has more high performance years in him before they restructure and extend.

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