(FootballSTL) -- Drafted out of Missouri Western in the 6th round of last year’s draft, Greg Zuerlein was as good as you can possibly be to begin the season. Literally. He couldn’t have been better.
The rookie kicker nailed his first 14 attempts in addition to becoming the first man to make two kicks of 58 or longer in a single game.
So, why does Zuerlein evaluate 2012 so poorly?
“Eh, it was all right. Really it was the worst season I’ve ever had,” Zuerlein said. “I was not happy with it. I made some good kicks and missed some big kicks that our team needed. In the future you just try and eliminate those, work on your form and get better.”
That’s because he missed half of his final 16 kicks giving him the third-worst conversion rate among full time kickers in the NFL.
Part of the reason for his late season struggles could be attributed to fatigue.
“I hadn’t had time off since I got hurt in what was supposed to be my senior season of college so for that last two years I haven’t had any time off. I went from having four or five months off regularly to nothing for two years. Now I got about three months off.”
That came at the direction of special teams coach John Fassel, who acknowledges his now second year kicker can be “a lot” better in 2013.
“He started on fire and then he kind of just, you know, toward the end of the season,” Fassel said. “But, a lot of that had to do with just a young guy that just kind of got worn out from the combines and all the workouts in the preseason and in the spring leading up to the season. We gave him a lot of time off after the season to kind of freshen himself up, got back in the weight room. His strength has improved, so his ability and success later in the season should improve.”
Zuerlein also says having gone through a full NFL season once gives him experience to know what he’s getting himself into a season later.
“All I can say is, right now, I feel more comfortable than I did last year at this time. Just being around the guys for another year, being around the coaches...first year jitters, I don’t like to chalk it up to that. I just feel more comfortable this year than I did last year,” Zuerlein said.
We’ll see how things shake out once the season starts.