Sunday, July 7, 2013

Brandon Fields hopes for zero punts this year


At 29 years old, Miami Dolphins punter Brandon Fields may be in the prime of his career. But if he has his way in 2013, he won't boot a single football.

The veteran leg visited The Finsiders crew recently to talk about Miami's offseason moves, namely its top offensive signings.

With the likes of Mike Wallace, Brandon Gibson and Dustin Keller entering into the mix, coupled with the anticipation surrounding quarterback Ryan Tannehill's second season under center, Fields said that the atmosphere and attitude in South Florida has certainly shifted from years past. (photo: Zruda, Flickr)

He's hoping that shift can reignite the team's offense, which would in turn cut down on his services.

"Knowing the hype we've had this offseason with a lot of the guys we've acquired, and I guess the hope or the excitement of how we're going to do next year, especially on offense, hopefully I only have to hold a few extra points and field goals and call it a day," Fields said.

Not that there have been many question marks in Fields's game of late. The former Spartan has always been known for his big leg, and like fine whiskey, it's only gotten better with age. He led the league last season in distance, averaging 50 yards an attempt, and he's averaged just over 46 yards for his career. He's also been ranked top five among all punters the last three season by Pro Football Focus.

Much of Fields's success the past couple of years can be partly attributed to the team's special teams coordinator, third-year coach Darren Rizzi.

A self-proclaimed overachiever, Rizzi's uptempo attitude and demeanor were attributes that Fields recognized as key factors to his success, as well as the success of the special teams squad as a whole.

A little screaming and yelling never hurt, either.

"He's an animal, especially on game day," Fields said. "He's full of excitement, full of energy. He's a great teacher, absolutely fantastic motivator. Getting guys that normally don't play special teams to give it their all, to buy into the system and try to help the team out to win on special teams. In fact, he can get guys whether they're playing good to play even better, or maybe they're having a bad day, to play better.

"You always see him on the sidelines, he's usually that maniac who's running up and down yelling at people."

Fields will be the uncontested starter this season, though he'll be looking to improve on a few aspects of his game come training camp. The main one will be the amount of punt return yards allowed last season: Rizzi's squad gave up nearly 500 yards on punt returns (second most), and it forced only 11 fair catches.

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