The 2014 season was a difficult one for New York Giants punter Steve Weatherford. Let's look closer at the popular punter as we near the end of our series of player-by-player profiles of the 90-man roster the Giants will bring to training camp next week.
2014 Season in Review
Weatherford's season got off to a terrible start. He suffered four torn ligaments in his left ankle when he was roughed while punting Week 1 vs. the Detroit Lions. The injury would have landed many (maybe most) punters on IR, but Weatherford toughed it out, figuring out a way to punt the ball with an ankle made basically of spaghetti.
In Week 2 against the Arizona Cardinals, Weatherford punted well until the fourth quarter, when he lined a poor kick that Arizona return man Ted Ginn took 71 yards for a game-changing touchdown. The Giants turned a 14-10 fourth-quarter lead into a 25-14 crushing loss.
Weatherford's season never really got better. He kept working and kept trying, and his 45.5 yard per punt average (38.6 net) don't look terrible. They really aren't but it was obvious all season that Weatherford struggled to kick the ball where he wanted or needed to, making coverage difficult. There was a sideline run-in with coordinator Tom Quinn. Weatherford had a punt blocked for the first time in his career. He hurt his back compensating for the ankle injury.
2015 Season Outlook
The 32-year-old Weatherford works harder in the weight room than just about anyone. He appeared to be healthy and kicking the ball well in the spring. The Giants have a second punter, journeyman Robert Malone on the roster but it seems unlikely Malone is a legitimate threat to Weatherford. Provided he is healthy Weatherford should once again be a dependable Giant and one of the league's better directional punters.