EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — If Steve Weatherford is not out on the field practicing, it's a good bet the New York Giants punter is lifting.
The ripped 30-year-old health nut downs a couple of protein shakes after practice and heads into the weight room like clockwork. The routine extends to his eating. Nothing bad goes in.
Everything is planned, even his directional punting. Almost every punt lands outside the numbers and along the sideline. It makes the coverage easy.
That's why his recent slump was surprising. He didn't hit a couple of balls well, one was returned for a touchdown and he had a horrible game in the wind against Oakland. It was humbling.
In the past three weeks, Weatherford has made everyone forget the slump heading into Sunday's game in San Diego against the Chargers (5-7). He averaged 53.0 yards, 54.6 and 47.8 against Green Bay, Dallas and Washington, respectively, with net gains of 42.2 yards, 51.6 and 42.
"It's just trusting myself," Weatherford said Friday after his workout. "When you have a game like I did against the Raiders, granted it was windy, but you come out of that game and obviously your confidence is going to take a blow. I never lost faith in myself and the coaches never lost faith in me. It just feels good to get out of that slump and hit the ball well and do what I am capable of doing."
The low point for Weatherford was the Oakland game on a very windy day at MetLife Stadium. He punted three times for an average of just over 30 yards, including one that was partially blocked and went seven yards. It was a low point of a three-game run that featured a punt return for a touchdown by Minnesota, and an Eagles' touchdown after snapper Zak DeOssie hiked the ball over Weatherford's head and it was recovered in the end zone.
"It's been weird. Everything that could have gone wrong has gone wrong," Weatherford said, noting that Denver and Kansas City both returned punts for touchdowns against the Giants (5-7) this season. "It's difficult, but you take the negative of something like that happening and try turn it into a positive and get through it. Fixing the problem, you build confidence and it helps you believe you can handle anything."