Enjoy an Ads-Free Jets Insider - Become a Jets Insider VIP!
Results 1 to 14 of 14

Thread: Ben Graham closing in on record

  1. #1
    Hall Of Fame
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Vermont
    Posts
    24,065
    Post Thanks / Like

    Ben Graham closing in on record

    Aussie punter Ben Graham having remarkable season for Arizona Cardinals

    By Bob Baum (CP) – 10 hours ago

    TEMPE, Ariz. — Arizona's punter from Down Under is on a roll, one that leaves the football near the opponent's goal-line with uncanny consistency.

    Entering Sunday's home game against St. Louis, [B]Ben Graham has 62 consecutive punts without a touchback, 32 of them inside the opponent's 20-yard line.[/B] The ball has landed like a perfect nine-iron shot to the green, either bouncing straight up or a few yards backward.

    "It's amazing because I think so few times do you think of a punter as a weapon," quarterback Kurt Warner said.

    The six-foot-five, 235-pound Australian said he's learned to kick that way, end-over-end with just the right distance, since he started to walk, growing up in the heart of a region that loves Australian rules football.

    Graham excelled at the rugged sport, playing 12 seasons at the professional level in Melbourne - all with the popular team Geelong - before retiring in 2004.

    "It's a pretty brutal sport," he said, "but I came out of it with my body intact."

    In 2005, he signed with the New York Jets, at 31 years and 13 days, the second-oldest player to make his debut in an NFL game since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger.

    It was not an easy adjustment.

    "I didn't realize all the rules when I first got here. I didn't know that punting was a bad thing," Graham said. "I wanted to punt all the time. I was disappointed when I didn't get to punt."

    He spent three seasons with the Jets before being released in September of 2008, then played one game with New Orleans before being cut again.

    Disillusioned, Graham thought about taking his wife and three children back to Australia, but with his children enrolled in school, the family decided to hold on for one more season.

    Graham needed a job, and Arizona needed a punter after releasing Dirk Johnson late in the season.

    Graham signed with the Cardinals last Dec. 1, destined to play a significant role in the team's unlikely run to the Super Bowl.

    In the first round of the playoffs against Atlanta, Graham had three punts inside the Falcons' 10-yard line, one leading to a safety. Despite a sore groin, he landed five punts inside the 20 in the NFC championship game against Philadelphia, including one that went out of bounds at the Eagles' seven-yard line with nine seconds to play.

    The first Australian to play in the Super Bowl, Graham had three punts inside the Pittsburgh 20, one at the two-yard line that resulted in another safety.

    "When we brought him in last year and he became our punter, that was one of the things that we were greatly surprised, pleasantly surprised, that he was so good at doing," coach Ken Whisenhunt said, "and he's obviously taken it to another level this year."

    Graham was rewarded with a two-year contract with the Cardinals, and it has been money well spent.

    In last Sunday's 31-24 win at Detroit, he punted seven times for a 50.3-yard average. Three landed inside the 20.

    He attributes his success to giving up worrying so much about technique.

    "The more you try to perfect something, sometimes it can take away from what you're actually trying to get done," Graham said. "So once I realized that and got back to just using my natural ability, I was able to become more consistent, which is what I always strive for."

    For Warner, Graham is added security.

    "You don't feel like you have to make a big play and score every time," Warner said. "You get around midfield and third down and you don't have to throw there - throw the ball away and you know that you're going to flip the field position, that they're going to be pinned back in a tough situation."

    [B]Overall, Graham has had 37 of 76 punts (49 per cent) land inside the 20 this season. He is five shy of the NFL record of 42 set by Andy Lee of San Francisco in 2007.[/B]

    His distance is among the best, too.

    His 47.5-yard average is third in the league, behind Lee (47.9) and Shane Lechler of Oakland (51.5).

    "It was only this time last year that I was out of a job," Graham said, "so I'm just enjoying a good ride."

  2. #2
    All Pro
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Philadelphia
    Posts
    7,078
    Post Thanks / Like
    We're a playoff team if Graham is our punter.




    j/k

  3. #3
    Veteran
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Posts
    1,364
    Post Thanks / Like
    eventually Ratliff will probably throw for 51 TDs in a season as well.

  4. #4
    Rookie
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Posts
    627
    Post Thanks / Like
    but can he do fake punts? because our punter loves to call his own number. beat that.

  5. #5
    All Pro
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Posts
    6,318
    Post Thanks / Like
    Why DID we get rid of him? :huh:

  6. #6
    Hall Of Fame
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    SoFla
    Posts
    17,790
    Post Thanks / Like
    That's typical. A player sucks with the Jets then goes on to another team and plays record-setting football.

  7. #7
    All Pro
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Roslyn
    Posts
    6,861
    Post Thanks / Like
    I remember hearing Mike Westhoff on a radio interview before last year's SB and saying that Arizona can't possible win because their punting game was so weak.

    It seems from this article that Graham blossomed after he stopped worrying about technique. Where did that worry come from?

    Maybe Westhoff is not the right person to teach punting. Since Tupa we have not had good punting. Might it be our coach?

  8. #8
    Hall Of Fame
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Vermont
    Posts
    24,065
    Post Thanks / Like
    [QUOTE=Queens Jet Fan;3418313]I remember hearing Mike Westhoff on a radio interview before last year's SB and saying that Arizona can't possible win because their punting game was so weak.

    It seems from this article that Graham blossomed after he stopped worrying about technique. Where did that worry come from?

    Maybe Westhoff is not the right person to teach punting. Since Tupa we have not had good punting. Might it be our coach?[/QUOTE]

    After his first year I thought Graham was the third or fourth best player on the team. Then he just got worse and worse.

  9. #9
    All League
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Posts
    3,528
    Post Thanks / Like
    He's had some outstanding games this season - from memory I think he and his coverage unit nearly won a game for them against the Titans when they pinned them at the 1 yard line with a couple of minutes to go in the game, but the Cards defence went to prevent and couldn't get the stop and the Titans drove the length of the field to claim victory.

    However, when assessing punters one has to remember where they play - the Jets will never have a statistically great punter while they play in the Meadowlands.

  10. #10
    All Pro
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Posts
    9,809
    Post Thanks / Like
    Have the Jets EVER had a punter avg 47.5 yds per punt?
    EVER?

  11. #11
    Jets Insider VIP
    Charter JI Member

    Join Date
    May 1999
    Posts
    15,094
    Post Thanks / Like
    [QUOTE=Black Death;3418317]
    However, when assessing punters one has to remember where they play - the Jets will never have a statistically great punter while they play in the Meadowlands.[/QUOTE]Good point. Graham regressed after his 1st yr here. Still a cool story.

  12. #12
    All Pro
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Posts
    6,637
    Post Thanks / Like
    [QUOTE=Queens Jet Fan;3418313]I remember hearing Mike Westhoff on a radio interview before last year's SB and saying that Arizona can't possible win because their punting game was so weak.

    It seems from this article that Graham blossomed after he stopped worrying about technique. Where did that worry come from?

    Maybe Westhoff is not the right person to teach punting. Since Tupa we have not had good punting. Might it be our coach?[/QUOTE]

    No, Westhoff did not say that.

    He said that both (Pitt's and Ari's) punting games were weak. He did not favor one over the other in that regard.

    No idea why Graham put it together this year.

    And Special teams coaches have very little to do with the actual punting technique. These guys all come in with their own style they developed.

  13. #13
    Banned
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Houston, TX
    Posts
    52,055
    Post Thanks / Like
    [QUOTE=Queens Jet Fan;3418313]

    I remember hearing Mike Westhoff on a radio interview before last year's SB and saying that Arizona can't possible win because their punting game was so weak.

    [/QUOTE]

    Maybe the Jets ST problems are Westoff, and not the players.

  14. #14
    All League
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Posts
    4,837
    Post Thanks / Like
    he cant kick in the cold and wind

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  

Follow Us