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NOTEBOOK: Carpenter And Fields Eager To Measure Up; Other Notes

Posted Sep 13, 2012

Oakland’s iconic duo of Janikowski and Lechler set the bar.

Over on one sideline this Sunday will be the punter and kicker duo considered to be NFL special teams royalty, while on the other sideline is a duo with its sights set on the crown.

Oakland Raiders punter Shane Lechler and kicker Sebastian Janikowski have set the standard at their position over their combined 26 seasons in the league, but Miami Dolphins punter Brandon Fields and kicker Dan Carpenter are quickly closing the gap. In fact, Carpenter made it to the Pro Bowl before Janikowski, earning a trip after the 2009 season while Janikowski went to his first last year.

“Obviously, I’m cognizant of what the kicker on the other team is doing when we play,” said Carpenter, who has kicked eight field goals of 50 yards or longer in his career. “In this case having a Pro Bowl kicker in Janikowski to battle against definitely gets the juices flowing and Brandon and I both know we have our work cut out for us.”

Lechler has been to seven Pro Bowls, including the last six and he and Janikowski have been together for each of their 13 seasons in the league. That’s the longest a punter and kicker have been teammates in league history.

Lechler’s gross punting average of 47.6 yards is the highest in the history of the NFL and he has led the league in net average and gross average four times. Fields has been in the league since 2007 and owns three of the top five seasons in franchise history, as well as the highest career gross average at 45.7 yards. Now he gets to measure himself against arguably the best punter of all-time at Sun Life Stadium.

“Before every single game I go in trying to do better than the opposing punter just because of the fact that’s part of my job description,” Fields said. “I go out there with the mindset of trying to control field position for our team, so knowing that Lechler’s been great all these years and is one of the best out there makes it an extra challenge for me to do better than him in this game. It’s one of those things knowing that he’s at the top and I want to hit that benchmark of outkicking him.”

Fields revealed that his style is pretty different from Lechler’s so he doesn’t watch much film of the Raiders’ punter. He tends to watch punters that kick the ball similar to him and while he has a strong enough leg to launch punts 60 or 70 yards like Lechler, Fields has mastered the art of avoiding the touchback and softly landing his punts inside the 20 when called upon.

Head Coach Joe Philbin has a ton of respect for Lechler and Janikowski and how they can change the game both in the field position battle when it comes to Lechler and on the scoreboard when it comes to Janikowski. But he has plenty of faith in Carpenter and Fields.

“I really like those two guys a lot,” Philbin said. “I like their work ethic, I like their approach to the game and I like the way that they’re kind of hard-hat guys that like to work.”

Long snapper John Denney was bit more succinct when it came to the value those two bring to the team.

“Brandon’s definitely a Pro Bowl caliber punter and Dan’s been to a Pro Bowl,” Denney reiterated. “So, absolutely, 100 percent they should be included in the same sentence of those two on the Raiders.”

INJURY UPDATE

Running back Daniel Thomas (concussion), defensive tackle Tony McDaniel (knee) and wide receiver Anthony Armstrong (hamstring) did not practice for the Dolphins. … Linebacker Jonathan Freeny (thumb) and defensive end Randy Starks (groin) both participated in a full practice … Cornerback Ron Bartell (shoulder), long snapper Jon Condo (concussion) and wide receiver Jacoby Ford (foot) did not practice. Running back Taiwan Jones (ribs), linebacker Rolando McClain (ankle) wide receivers Juron Criner (ankle) and Denarius Moore (hamstring), center Alex Parsons (shoulder) and defensive tackle Richard Seymour) were limited. … Tight ends David Ausberry (shoulder) and Brandon Myers (shoulder) and safety Michael Mitchell (ribs) practiced in full.

COACH SPEAK

“I think every situation’s different and I think every quarterback’s different. Obviously, some quarterbacks walk into the league and their production is great, their passer rating is great and their interception ratio is low. So I would guess those guys feel comfortable very early on in their career and there are some guys that take a little time and seasoning so to speak. I don’t know that you can put a figure on it.” – Philbin on how long in his opinion it takes for a quarterback to feel comfortable in his own skin in the NFL

“I think Lane’s kind of a luxury and a guy that can do a lot of things. You’ve seen him catch the ball and make guys miss and you’ve seen the balance and an ability to fall forward and I think he has some of those skills when he has the ball in his hands. Obviously, Lamar Miller we drafted for a reason. We think highly of him and we think he’s going to be a good player in this league but certainly they’re not the same type of guys but Lamar has skill, too.” – Philbin on what Jorvorskie Lane and Lamar Miller can add to the running game

“He’s got that combination of he’s got that real good length so he can get separation on guys both in the run and pass and he’s sneaky fast and quick still. He’s a big man, he’s a big individual and he’s got length but he’s still got some burst and some quickness and some suddenness that can make it a challenge for you. You’ve got to be able to get your hands inside of his quickly and it’s not always an easy proposition.” – Philbin on the challenges of blocking Raiders defensive tackle Richard Seymour

“It’s coming along. It’s still a work in progress but he seems to be attentive, he seems to be a bright guy and a serious guy, so I think he’s picked up the system relatively well.” – Philbin on how much progress wide receiver Anthony Armstrong has made in the offense

LOCKER ROOM TALK

“I got tired of the old mop top and my wife was cool with it. My daughter didn’t recognize me and she was a little scared at first but I had to get rid of the hair. Once it starts tickling the nose it’s got to go and I used to wear it like this all the time. The guys seem to like it and joked that they thought we got a new guy” – quarterback Matt Moore on his new-look buzz cut that was done by tight end Anthony Fasano after practice on Wednesday

“I thought he looked better with the long hair and him and Anthony both upset me. They went behind my back and Matt got it cut so now I’m trying something new and going with the long-haired look.” – Pro Bowl left tackle Jake Long on Moore’s haircut and winning the competition the two had going for the longest hair

“On the mean streets of New Jersey cutting hair and splitting wigs. Maybe it will become a second profession. If anybody out there wants a haircut, bring your own clippers and I’ll do it for $10.” – tight end Anthony Fasano joking about his barber skills

“If you’ve never been there I can’t explain it. It’s a hectic time and that’s really all I’m going to say about it. It’s something you just have to experience but the ball doesn’t change possession a lot. When there’s a fumble, it might change possession with the first two or three guys in there but that ball doesn’t change possession. Once one guy’s got his hands on it it’s hard to get it out. No eye gouging. That’s the era of football before us when that was legal.” – left guard Richie Incognito on what happens at the bottom of the pile after a fumble

DOLPHINS TIDBITS

## For the first time since training camp began, Philbin switched up the color of the practice jerseys this morning, putting the offense in white and the defense in aqua. Prior to today the two units were in opposite colors.

## Wide receiver Davone Bess was given the choice of the first song during warm-ups and stretching because today is his 27th birthday. True to form he stayed in the reggae genre wit Bob Marley’s classic, “I Shot The Sherriff.” That was followed by Future’s “Turn Off The Lights,” and then one more rap song.

## Practice squad wide receiver showed off his quick feet and his awareness of his surroundings during position drills after he caught an out pattern near the sideline and narrowly avoided knocking over a member of the media. He held onto the ball the entire way.
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