Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Trust me, Jeff, It's not 'mental'

Today in the Post-Gazette there was a story about the superb kicking performed during Sunday's game. While it mentioned uber-punter Sepulveda, what caught my eye was the analysis by Skip Reed about how he managed to get 3 of his 7 kicks to go for touchbacks. According to him, it was purely a "mental" thing that limited him to only 4 touchbacks all of last year, and he's found the way to break through. BS. Jeff Reed has no mental blocks. His thought process is simple: Kick ball. Beer. Trenni Kusnerik. Take photos for internets. Repeat.

The only reason he's kicking the ball further is due to #2 on his daily schedule. The man has simply gained weight. The merits of having photos of him drunk with his shirt off around the internet certainly can be debated, but in this instance they help prove my point. Take a look at the censored versions of Mr. Reed with his shirt off, the first surfacing at the end of December last year and the second one surfacing almost 6 months later.

While certainly not as scandalous as before and after photos of Bonds, I'd say they accurately tell the story of Jeff's offseason workout plan. I know other people have noticed this during the games. According to AOL Sports, Reed weighs 232 pounds, a 17 pound increase from 2003, which does not seem that significant. The guy is listed at a generous 5'11", though, and the 6'2" Sebastian Janikowski weighs 250. The extra weight behind the ball is probably contributing to the sudden power surge.

Other than it being humorous, why bring this up? First, the Steelers played so well I have nothing else to complain about. Secondly, I worry that a weight gain and subsequent new power kicking motion could cause trouble in terms of accuracy. The top 4 kickers with the most touchbacks last year were Olindo Mare (24), Josh Scobee (21), Paul Ernster (19), and Neil Rackers (17). The next closest guys had 13. Their respective field goal percentages were 72.2%, 81.3%, N/A, and 75.7%. The best of them, Scobee's 81.3%, was good for 19th in the league, and Ernster does not kick field goals. It seems that power may correlate with low accuracy.

Skip kicked at a 72.3% clip last year, which is misleading because he was 100% on the road while only hitting 58.8% of his FGs at home, a lot of which can be attributed to the south end zone winds. The gut and new found power will lead to one of two outcomes. Either Reed becomes one of the premiere kickers in the league as he demonstrates both accuracy and an ability to limit kickoff returns, or he pulls a Vanderjagt and is out of the league by next year. Since he guaranteed the 'stache 50 FGs, I'll go with the premiere kicker outcome, but I don't see it being anywhere in between.

End of Post


Wieters said...

Are you saying Reed and Trenni are "more than friends"?

Pat said...

Unclear. Jeff appeared to have a girlfriend with him the ngiht we saw him, but that didnt stop him from, uhhh, being friendly with trenni

Wieters said...

Wow, she must really get around. I heard rumors about her being with Dominic Moore before he got traded. Not sure if there's any truth to that.

But give her credit as a reporter, she really knows how to get the "inside scoop". I wonder who her "contact" is on the Pirates. Gorzo?

Sam said...

Its funny you bring up the Pirates connection. There used to be pictures online, which have now been removed, of Ryan Vogelsong's wedding a few years back. At the party were many of the pitchers from 2003, including Kip Wells and Josh Fogg. I wish I could remember the other ones, but there were definitely at least a few bullpen guys too. Guess who else was there? Trenni.

Gorzo seems like a good choice for this crop of pitchers, though.