Some coaches won’t ice the kicker
Vail, CO Colorado
Attempting to ice kickers before a key field goal is almost as old as goal posts. Seahawks coach Mike Holmgren, until last year a member of the league’s competition committee, doesn’t do it.
And he doesn’t like the trend of coaches calling timeouts just before snaps on field goals.
He talked to league officiating chief Mike Perreira this week after Buffalo called time as Dallas was about to snap on rookie Nick Folk’s winning field-goal attempt. The Bills were granted the timeout before the kick sailed through the uprights. Folk then boomed his second try from 53 yards to win the game Monday night anyway.
“I don’t like the way that looks or how it is … not right when the ball is snapped,” said Holmgren, who is something of a traditionalist and in his 16th year as an NFL head coach. “The idea of a coach being able to call a timeout, which is relatively new ” we put that in two or three years ago ” I know the rule wasn’t intended to do that.”
Should there be an even newer rule? Holmgren said he didn’t know the best solution.
Colts coach Tony Dungy has no intention of following the trend, either.
“Are you going to say, ‘Hey, take a practice free throw or hey, take that practice putt from 10 feet away first,”‘ he said. “I think it’s a dumb play. I don’t think the rule needs to be changed. I think most people in that situation want to take a timeout, but you don’t want the guy taking a practice kick.”
The late timeouts have produced mixed results this season.
Denver’s Mike Shanahan used it to throw off Oakland’s Sebastian Janikowski, giving the Broncos an opportunity to win the game minutes later on Jason Elam’s field goal in Week 2. The next week, Oakland coach Lane Kiffin used it successfully against Cleveland’s Phil Dawson. The Raiders blocked the kick to preserve a 26-24 victory.
On Monday night, Folk beat Buffalo.
But Dungy believes waiting to call the timeout actually gives the kicker an advantage.
“I think it’s a better strategy to call it before they snap the ball and not let them figure out how the wind is blowing or whatever,” Dungy said.
Though it hasn’t happened to him yet this season, Minnesota kicker Ryan Longwell said he can understand why the move has been en vogue this season.
“It’s a copycat league,” Longwell said. “My personal opinion? I’m not sure it’s in the spirit of the game. It seems a little ticky-tack to me. But you’re going to see it for the rest of this year until they have a chance to adjust the rule.”
Calling a timeout just before the kick can help a kicker in a windy, outdoor stadium, Longwell said.
“If it’s an outdoor game, you get a good guage on the wind watching the ball fly through the air. I know people think it’s a mental thing,” Longwell said. “But I think it can help kickers see how they’re hitting it and you can adjust on the second one if you need to.”
And he doesn’t see it changing anytime soon, unless “a bunch of guys miss the first kick and make the second one. And then you’ll see it go the other way.”
One option would prohibit timeouts by the defense on field goals after a team is set in its kicking formation.
“Most coaches like the rule where they can call the timeout on the sideline, for a normal thing. I hope there’s some way to modify this for the kicking game,” Holmgren said.
“I’ll tell you right now, I’m not going to do that. I don’t like it. I don’t think that’s what the rule was intended to do. If you’re going to freeze the kicker, do it. I don’t freeze kickers as a rule. NFL kickers, I don’t think it works, all that nonsense. Go out there, kick it. Either make it or don’t make it, but let’s go.
“All of a sudden if I call timeout, the wind’s not going to change. It’s not going to start raining or something. Kick it. If you make it, shake their hand. If you don’t, we’re happy.”
AP Sports Writers Gregg Bell in Seattle, Michael Marot in Indianapolis and Jon Krawczynski in Minneapolis contributed to this report.