Work in Sports
The kid can kick
Edinger looks impressive while fighting for job
This is the 16th in a series of postcards Sports Illustrated's Peter King will e-mail from his annual NFL training-camp tour.
Saturday, Aug. 5
TEAM: Chicago Bears
SITE: I watched the Bears-Giants preseason opener Saturday at Giants Stadium, East Rutherford, N.J. The place looks beautiful in grass. Way to go, Giants president John Mara. Way to push grass on a bunch of people who didn't want it. You were right.
PLAYER I SAW WHOM I REALLY LIKED: This is going to sound quirky, and maybe it is. But with a very slight breeze in his face early in the first quarter, rookie placekicker Paul Edinger from Michigan State lined up a field goal from 51 yards. He's a sidewinder type, almost a corkscrew soccer-style kicker, and he unleashed a kick that would have been good from 60. Right down the middle, too. Amazing kick for a kid trying to out-do Michael Husted and Jaret Holmes for a roster spot. But there was an illegal-motion flag, which caused the ball to be spotted back 5 yards. Coach Dick Jauron had a chance to make an impact move and let the kid kick from 56. But he punted. Why, Dick? It's the preseason, and you're trying to find a kicker. Heck of a foot on that Edinger. He aced a 43-yarder, straight away again, in the third quarter.
OPINION/FACTOID THAT MIGHT BE INTERESTING ONLY TO ME: The Bears have a free-agent guard on their roster named Uzooma Okeke .
THE FOOD: Had my first meal at home in two weeks tonight before coming to the game (I live 10 miles from the Meadowlands), and I must brag about it.
That's the best dessert I've ever had.
Thank you, Ann King. You rule.
Dear NFL Junkie : One Giants' point first: On the Giants' first fruitless 1999-esque drive, Tiki Barber started. He rushed twice, once for a yard, once for two. On Giants' radio, analyst Dick Lynch said: "A lot of people came to the game tonight, and they don't want to see Tiki Barber carry it.'' Absolutely. Why the Giants didn't play Ron Dayne from the opening gun is silly. And counter-productive. They should be getting Dayne as many carries with the first offensive line as possible.
Dayne, by the way, looked pretty pedestrian. The Giants have said throughout camp they're impressed with the big back's quickness. What quickness? I didn't see it. Ron's Dayne-but: 17 carries, 48 yards, a very Giants-like 2.8 per carry.
The play of the game? Easy. Defensive tackle Christian Peter ripped Bear quarterback Jim Miller's helmet off two yards deep in the end zone in the second quarter, then dropped him on his throwing elbow for a safety. Miller hurt his elbow on the play and had to come out. Now for the Bears. It took six plays of Brian Urlacher's career for me to see exactly why the Bears took him ahead of Plaxico Burress last April.
The sixth play of this game: Giants' ball, third and seven from the Giants' 24, Kerry Collins spots Barber in the flat and throws him a quick pass. Urlacher was on Barber right away, splattering him 3 yards short of the first down. Urlacher is quick, rangy, and seems to have a great feel for the game. My verdict on Chicago: Let Cade McNown dink and dunk and move around, and the Bears make the playoffs.
This will be my last postcard for a while. You've been a great audience.