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Sunday, November 16, 2008 2:23:18 PM(UTC)
[size=18]Frost continues push to be more consistent[/size]
[img_r]http://media.jsonline.com/images/199*173/frost111408.jpg[/img_r]Green Bay - Some days it's not the pressure, the rush, the weather, the snap, the footing, the fans or the field.
Some days the brain is the biggest enemy.
And Derrick Frost's mind can work against his leg.
First, he admits he was too eager to make a good first impression when Green Bay abruptly brought him on board just before the first game of the season. Frost found himself in a new environment with not yet-defined expectations and naturally wanted to prove himself a worthy and reliable new teammate.
That first game against Minnesota he did.
"When I got here, I was trying too hard trying to be perfect to impress guys," Frost said.
But then he had two poor games in September, beat himself up over it and publicly put more pressure on himself. After a taste of Wisconsin wind against Indianapolis in October in which he punted well, he looked forward to the controlled environment of the Metrodome last week as a great opportunity to put up big numbers.
That backfired big time. The more Frost tried to crush it, the more he hit flat balls or line drives.
"I'm trying to drive the ball 100 yards instead of just staying within myself, just hitting the ball clean," Frost said. "I almost think that in the back of my mind, a lot of those punts, I was over-swinging it because I had such high expectations."
Now here Frost is, virtually unknown and yet the object of so many fans' ire, the lone wolf in the locker room at times. His mind-set has been all over the place.
He needs to push. He needs to relax. He needs to be positive. He's said all these things. He knows he needs to give his punt coverage guys more time to get downfield but he doesn't agree with his critics who have been screaming for his release that he's awful either, pointing out that four of his punts at Minnesota were not returned.
But on the field, there's no denying his fire. One punt from his end zone last week even prompted him to scream in frustration before the ball was even caught. But sometimes his body language is negative.
"I'm kind of a hot-tempered person," said Frost. "Even when I hit a good ball I might get excited but people might think that's me kind of being (angry). Like on one of those punts, I slapped (kicker) Mason Crosby's hand so hard he said his hand was stinging.
"I really have a football mentality, a linebacker mentality, but it's tough to do that and be a punter because those mentalities kind of don't mesh."
Special teams coordinator Mike Stock asked Frost to tone down one part of his personality: his overdrive at practice.
Stock asked Frost to kick a dozen balls and if they were good, to stop. That goes against Frost's very nature.
"It's a dumb thing but I kicked way too many balls before in my career," he said. "In the past I would keep hitting them and hitting them until I started hitting them badly. Then I would walk off the field with a bad feeling. It didn't make sense."
Frost felt the over-kicking led to a dead leg and dropping stats in the second half of the season. Last year his rankings plummeted almost 20 spots at one point.
"I really had problems just staying fresh, I was tired," said Frost. "So this year coach Stock was really on me. I'm hitting half as many balls if not less as I have in the past. I need to just shut it off. Leave the table hungry, as my dad would say."
Emphasizing the positive over the negative, Frost feels he's had his best three weeks of striking the ball. It just needs to transfer to the game starting Sunday against Chicago.
"It's just a matter of me getting my technique right every week. Getting my mind-set right," he said. "I feel like to be honest with you, I should surpass all of my career numbers. I really should."
Frost is ranked 23rd right now, with a 43.2 average and 18th with a 37.3 net. The Packers don't seem to care about that - they want directional punting - or for Frost to wave the ball to either sideline. Frost said doing so could even turn to his advantage as the colder games approach. With his quick get-off time and direction, the opponent can't bring back his punts and the Packers have the field-position advantage on defense.
That was the plan and the key to his game. When Frost punts his best, he punts the ball out of reach and makes it hard to return. When he punts his best, his work will also often go unnoticed.
"It's a matter of ball placement," said Stock. "It's no different than (a) golf swing; it's all your address of where you hold your club and where you're going to hit from in terms of your stance. It's the same thing as punting the football. It's all a matter of where you put the ball, where you place it, the arc and whether it's inside or lined up on your steps."
Stock said his punter has been erratic but he has generally defended him, which makes sense. Stock has been in Frost's corner before, as he once lobbied to bring Frost onboard in Washington. The two also worked together at a camp in NFL Europa.
So despite the public wailing, Frost lives to see another week employed. He sounded a lot like a guy with his head on straight.
"Over the last three weeks I've really seemed to settle in," said Frost. "I think I hit the ball well. Unfortunately some parts of last week didn't go as well as I wanted to but I think I've got that figured out."
Sunday, November 16, 2008 3:16:40 PM(UTC)
Sunday, November 16, 2008 3:38:41 PM(UTC)
Our punter has a linebacker mentality...
If only our linebackers could do the same...
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