The question of whether kickers and punters are really athletes is an argument that will almost certainly go on forever. But Arizona kicker Jay Feely did his best to put an end to it all by himself on Sunday.
The Cardinals kicker scored a whopping 25 points — five field goals, four extra points and a touchdown, yes a touchdown — against Denver. That total was single-handedly more than half of the league’s teams on Sunday and would’ve been enough for Feely to beat the Broncos all by himself. He technically did in a 43-13 victory.Feely scored the first 22 points all by himself, thanks in part to a fake field goal scamper that should give he and kickers some credit. That said, it probably won’t, but at least he’ll always have this day to bring up in the argument.Jay Feely joined XTRA 910 in Phoenix to discuss his big day against the Broncos, doing kickers some justice, the fake field goal play, being in a zone when it comes to kicking, quarterback John Skelton getting the victory and where the league is headed next year.
On his 25-point performance against Denver:
“Well, the groin’s a little sore. No, it’s one of those things where you have a great time, the team gets a big, needed win and you obviously have a big part in it so you revel in it and enjoy all the text messages and phone calls from all your friends around the country and then you begin to move on to every-day life.”
On doing the kicking job justice by scoring on the fake field goal:
“It was pretty cool. I like to fancy myself as more than the stereotypical kicker. Part of the reason why I run down there on kickoffs and try to tackle like I do is that reason. I look at myself as a football player, and not just a kicker. I’ve always viewed myself no different than any of my other teammates even though a lot of times kickers aren’t viewed that way in the public eye or in the eye of the media. I think that perception is quickly changing because I think you’ve got a lot of guys that are great athletes … that excel at the kicking and punting positions.”
On the fake field goal play called Wolverine and when they decided to go for it:
“It’s something we’ve tried to call a number of times throughout the year … but one thing or another may have happened … that moved it back and now it’s not the right time to call it. It was just a perfect setup: two yards to go for the touchdown, five yards. … I’m glad that it kind of jump-started us offensively and hopefully with the two touchdowns we had at the end of the game and we can use that momentum and carry it forward.”
On being in a zone:
“I’ll be real honest with you, I’ve felt that way the last three or four years. I felt like I’ve gotten better and better every year and you understand how to approach the position from a mental state of mind. I think that’s where most of the success is determined from the kicking position. … If you watch me in warmups, I’m running around, I’m fielding punts, I’m catching passes, I’m throwing the ball. I’m really trying to have fun and embrace the moment and enjoy it.”
On unknown quarterback John Skelton leading the Cardinals to victory:
“I saw a lot of poise for a young guy who had not had a lot of opportunities, had not had a lot of snaps in practice. … Understanding that he doesn’t have a full grasp of the offense yet, but knowing what he wanted to do, not getting frustrated when he had some drops at the beginning of the game … I thought he showed a lot of moxie. The block that he had on the reverse was a big play and then also when he tucked it and ran over one of their DBs, those are the plays as a quarterback where you earn a lot of respect.”
On where he thinks the league is headed next year in terms of a potential lockout:
“I think there’s a number of things that will happen before you get to the season. Obviously the union has voted, every team, to decertify. That’s what we did back in the 80s when you had the strike in ’87. And then the thing that actually culminated in helping us to finally create a collective bargaining in 1993 that’s lasted … until now was decertifying as a union because according to federal labor laws if you’re not a union, a business cannot lock out a workforce. … Hopefully, I think there’s a number of things that have happened that will force us and allow us, both the players and the owners, to come to some kind of agreement. We’ve had unprecedented success in the NFL, both from the value of the franchises that have grown to the profit margins of the team to the salaries of the players that have grown. … I’m hopeful that we can figure out a way.”