One of the things fans loved about former Cardinals kicker Neil Rackers was that he would stick his nose in on kickoff coverage and make tackles — oftentimes important ones to stop a big return.
It seemed like that would go away when Rackers was replaced by Jay Feely. Apparently not.
Feely said one of the coincidental twists about coming to Arizona is that, in that aspect of the game, he and Rackers are a lot alike. Feely believes one of the reasons Jets fans seemed to like him was for the same reason — he was willing to jump in and make a tackle (he did have six last season, the same amount as Rackers).
“We have the same approach to playing the position, which is different than a lot of people,” said Feely, who wears gloves not only to aid in tackling but also so he can be ready to recover one of his own onside kicks or make a catch on a fake — again, parts of the game kickers usually shy from. “It helps you win. If you wait back on the 40-yard line and the return man has a seam, I don’t care how good an athlete you are, if they have 20 yards on you you won’t make the play.
“If you see the play develop and you have the guts and ability to go down and fill that hole at the 25-yard line, they only have two or three yards to beat you and you can make the play. That’s when I feel like a football player too.”
A fine line? Maybe. Feely doesn’t see an injury risk — he’s never missed a game — although he says with a smile his wife has a different outlook. As for coaches, “they love it. They know I won’t go there unnecessarily. But when there is a play that needs to be made, I’m going to try and make that play.”
Tags: Jay Feely, Neil Rackers
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