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Sturgis Has Sights Set On Strong Sophomore Season

Posted Jul 28, 2014

The kicker isn’t a rookie anymore so training camp isn’t quite the eye-opening experience it was 12 months ago.

A lot of things have changed for Caleb Sturgis since last summer.

Off the field, he’s now a married man after tying the knot with his college sweetheart, Kimberly Davidson, in Mexico on July 5.

On the field, Sturgis isn’t a rookie anymore so training camp isn’t quite the eye-opening experience it was 12 months ago. He also now is the only kicker in training camp for the Dolphins, a drastic change from last year when he came in looking to unseat veteran incumbent Dan Carpenter.

What hasn’t changed is Sturgis’ drive. In fact, it just might be even more intense after a rookie season he deemed not up to his standards.

“I think I should have had a better year last year,” Sturgis said after practice Sunday. “Every chance I get out here I want to prove that they made a good decision having me as their kicker, and that’s something I don’t think I’ll ever lose. You always want to make them happy with how you perform.”

Sturgis joined the Dolphins last season after a stellar career at the University of Florida and his beating out Carpenter for the kicking job shouldn’t have been considered a great surprise considering Miami invested a fifth-round pick in the 2013 NFL draft on him.

Sturgis’ NFL career began on a roll as he made his first 10 field goal attempts, including two from long distance right before halftime of the games against the Indianapolis Colts and the Atlanta Falcons — from 54 and 46 yards, respectively.

Then came a mini-slump during which Sturgis missed five of eight field goal attempts before he rebounded to make 13 of his last 16 attempts to finish the season 26-for-34.

While he wasn’t happy with his performance, Sturgis still set Dolphins rookie records with his 26 field goals and his three kicks from 50 yards or longer — he also hit from 52 yards at New England and from 50 yards against Atlanta.

The Dolphins obviously are still very high on Sturgis, who earned NFL All-Rookie honors last season, as evidenced by the fact they didn’t bring in any competition for him in camp. But Sturgis says that doesn’t mean there’s any less pressure to perform.

“I think the one thing as a kicker, it’s kind of different from other positions where you have 90 guys on a roster, you have guys that are really fighting,” he said. “The guys outside of those 90 men, they’re real long shots. Kickers that are outside of the camps aren’t that much of a long shot. So you’re constantly fighting against whether it be the two kickers that are in every other camp or guys that aren’t even on teams right now. You’re constantly playing for your job.”

Like Sturgis, punter Brandon Fields and long-snapper John Denney also are the only players at their position in training camp. Denney happens to be the longest-tenured player on the roster, while Fields is the second-longest-tenured.

Sturgis would love nothing better than to achieve that kind of longevity. He’s doing everything in his power to achieve that goal, but first and foremost to improve on his rookie season.

“Every day you go out there you want to hit every field goal,” Sturgis said. “You try. When you get in a rhythm where you’re hitting every field goal you make, you stay at a consistent level. I think the other thing is just being real conscious with how many kicks you take every day, how many to warm up, but every one counts because another big thing for us is health and if you’re healthy all the way through it makes everything a lot easier.”

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