12.04.05

Rackers’ Backer Calls Kicker Cards’ MVP

Posted in Gridiron at 11:33 am by

With Jay Feely’s misses still fresh in the minds of Giants and Eagles fans, the Sun Sentinel’s Chris Bricker damns kicker Neil Rackers with the faint praise of being “the most valuable player on the woeful Cardinals.”

He’s 32 of 33 on field goal attempts, 6 of 6 from 50 yards and beyond, and leads the league with 22 touchbacks on kickoffs, although he’s going to have to sit out at least one week after pulling a calf muscle in practice during the week.

Ask your average fan to name the NFL’s best kicker and he’ll give you Adam Vinatieri of the Patriots, who has won Super Bowls with his leg, or the very visible, 250-pound Sebastian Janikowski of the Raiders.

When the Pro Bowl voting is announced in a couple of weeks, however, the world will know it’s Rackers, who would be a lot less obscure if he wasn’t playing for a 3-8 team.

Indeed, six years after he was drafted in the sixth round out of Illinois, Rackers’ celebrations have been largely limited to his personal accomplishments. There have been no playoffs games or clutch kicks on national television.

Last Sunday, he accepted his first miss of the season — wide left from 43 yards — ending his streak at 31. But he’s still within booting distance of Morten Andersen’s mark of eight 50-yarders in a season.

After 11 games, he has converted 14 of 20 50-yarders for his career, including the record-tying three he hit in one game a year ago.

Still, as brilliantly as he’s kicked, there has been so much disappointment. He’s never been on a winning team in the NFL.

I’m impressed that Bricker took the time to plead the case of a kicker who won’t even be playing in today’s incredibly compelling Cardinals/49ers game, let alone the next 3 weeks.

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