On the contrary,
The shoe was on the other foot last year — a natural pun given the topic is kickers — when it was Franks who was brought in as a rookie free agent to challenge incumbent Caleb Sturgis, a competition that ended with Franks winning the job.
“I expected as much,” Franks said. “I thought I had a good season, but it was definitely something that they wanted to see improvement in. I figured there would be competition. I competed last year with Caleb, so that’s not new for me at all. It’s a little different being on the other side, I guess. A little different. But for me it doesn’t really change much. I like the competition itself. I like having a guy that’s going to push you and hopefully I’m pushing him as well. I like it.”
Franks’ rookie season was successful when it comes to kickoffs, as he finished tied for eighth in the league in touchback percentage at 66.7.
Because of circumstances beyond his control, he didn’t get many opportunities to show off his ability on field goals as he went 13-for-16. The 16 attempts represented the lowest total for a Dolphins kicker in a 16-game season (starting in 1978).
The low attempt number aside, Franks said he still needs to get better.
“I think my biggest issue was consistency last year,” Franks said. “Coming in, I was definitely working with a lot of different things in terms of my technique and that’s something that I’ve really tried hammer down is getting a consistent technique that I can use in any kind of weather, any surface. That’s really been the thing that I’ve worked on the most and I think I’ve improved the most upon as well.”
Based on his work during the offseason program, there’s little question that Franks has made improvement since the end of last season.
In practices open to the media, he regularly made field goals beyond 50 yards, connecting on a 59-yard attempt at one point. He also had the distance on a 64-yard attempt, although it sailed wide.
“Andrew has come leaps and bounds,” special teams coordinator Darren Rizzi said. “From this time last year until now, his improvement has been really dramatic. He’s always had the strength but he’s really ironed out his technique and those things, and that has been really impressive so far.”
Franks said he prepared for the offseason program by first taking a few weeks off from kicking, focusing instead on weight training, before gradually getting back into it.
That, he says, paid dividends, along with the benefit of knowing what to expect now that he’s not a rookie anymore.
Koehn is the rookie now and, just as Sturgis did for him last year, Franks is always willing to help out a teammate even though they are in direct competition.
After emerging victorious in the kicker competition last summer, Franks is confident about a similar outcome, although he’s not about to assume that the job belongs to him.
“I won it last year, so I definitely want to sort of have that, but for me I don’t want to look to the past and say that’s a precedent,” Franks said. “I definitely want to prove that I belong here and it is my job. So I’m definitely going to work as if I’m not the starting guy.”