Giants work out veteran punter Hunter Smith
Published: Tuesday, October 05, 2010, 6:07 PM Updated: Tuesday, October 05, 2010, 6:32 PM
Mike Garafolo/The Star-Ledger Mike Garafolo/The Star-Ledger
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smith100510.jpgAP File PhotoFormer Colts punter Hunter Smith (left) worked out for the Giants on Tuesday. He didn't sign with team but remains an option moving forward.
6:17 UPDATED to include Smith's agent saying his client left without signing a contract.
On Monday, Tom Coughlin was asked why he still has patience for struggling rookie punter Matt Dodge.
"Iím a very patient person," the Giants coach deadpanned.
Well, someone's patience is starting to at least run a bit thin.
The Giants brought in 11-year veteran punter Hunter Smith for a workout on Tuesday, Smith's agent, Tom Mills, confirmed. Mills said Smith believed he had a solid workout but left without signing a contract. Mills has yet to speak to the Giants about the workout but believes his client could be an option for the team moving forward.
Smith, 33, spent the first decade of his career with the Colts, who drafted him in the seventh round of the 1998 draft. Smith was a solid punter for Indianapolis all the way through the 2008 season when he recorded a career-best net average of 38.8 yards. Despite that solid figure and 23 punts inside the 20-yard line, the Colts did not attempt to re-sign Smith, who then joined the Redskins as a free agent. Smith played in 13 games with Washington last season, recording a gross average of 41.3 yards and a net of 36.8 yards on 57 punts.
Smith has also served as a holder for place kicks, which also makes him a threat to Dodge. Over the past two weeks, Dodge has committed a pair of mistakes on field goals. The first came against the Titans when he failed to signal for the snap in time and the Giants were flagged for a delay-of-game penalty that pushed Lawrence Tynes' field goal attempt (one he would miss) to 44 yards instead of 39. This past Sunday, Dodge failed to spin the laces outward for Tynes, who missed a 38-yard attempt. Smith, meanwhile, showed cool under pressure as a holder last year against the Giants when he ran a fake field goal 8 yards for a touchdown.
Dodge, who has struggled as a punter in three of the Giants' first four games, is averaging 43.5 yards per kick with a net average of 34.1 yards. Those numbers don't show the low line drives he's hit that have worked in his favor because of bounces.
It remains to be seen how Dodge will respond to the news of Smith's visit to East Rutherford. Perhaps that's what the Giants would like to know as well.