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Still alive and kicking

Posted Aug 7, 2012

It is training camp number 13 for Bills kicker Rian Lindell.  For punter Brian Moorman, it’s an even dozen camps with the Bills.

And for both, it’s another chance to compete, to win a roster spot with the team, and help the Bills win.

Lindell and Moorman were guests on the John Murphy Show Monday night live at the Bills Training Camp.   And the two elder statesmen on the Bills roster say they feel great, and are ready to go for another season.

“I honestly feel   like I’m having one of the best camps I’ve ever had,” Moorman said in the radio interview.  “ It is kind of cliché to come to camp and say I feel like I’m in the best shape of my life.  But that’s not what I’m saying.  I’m saying I feel like I’m kicking the ball better, and I’m more comfortable back there.  I’ve been hitting the ball real well, and I’m pleased with that.”

The Bills have brought in competition for both Moorman and Lindell in this training camp.  The team signed free agent punter Shawn Powell from Florida State,  the Seminoles all-time leading punter.  And they drafted kicker John Potter in the seventh round, a big-legged rookie from Western Michigan. 

Both Moorman and Lindell acknowledge the competition from the two rookies.  But they also say they’re always competing for a roster spot, regardless of who’s on the practice field with them.

“If he’s kicking right next to you, or even if he’s  kicking on film somewhere—they definitely have a list of guys who can come in and replace you if you’re not doing your job,” says Lindell. 

The Bills veteran placekicker says he understands why the team would want to spend a draft pick on a prospect like Potter.

“He can boot that thing.  His timing is very good.  Certainly it kinda drives you, when you see him make his kicks or kicking his kickoffs well, you say, ‘Well, that’s what I need to do.’  It kinda pushes you a little bit.”

Punter Shawn Powell was signed by the Bills hours after the NFL draft in April.  He was a consensus All American at FSU and he’s got impressive physical stature—standing 6-4 and weighing 243 pounds.

But veteran Brian Moorman is coming off a year where he set a franchise record in gross punting average (48.22); fourth best in the NFL.   Moorman says the competition doesn’t bother him at all.

“If there were not a guy in camp, you’re still competing against everybody out there,” Moorman says. 

“To be quite honest with you, I’m constantly competing against myself.  I’m my own worst critic.  If I mishit a ball, it doesn’t matter if there’s a guy here competing against me or not, I’m still upset with myself.  I’ve got to correct that and move on.  But Rian’s right, it does push you.  Competition makes you better, and I’ve got no issue with that.  It’s actually kinda fun.”

Both of the Bills veteran kickers say their experience battling the gusty winds at Ralph Wilson Stadium should count for something, when it comes to evaluating who’s best suited to kick and punt for the Bills.

“I hope so.  It’s not an easy place to kick,” according to Moorman.  “I don’t know how many times guys (other kickers) will come into our stadium, and Rian and I will be talking to them before the game, and they say ‘You guys can have this place.  We’re out of here.”  We take that as a compliment. “

The John Murphy Show is broadcast weeknights from 7-9pm on the Flagship Station of the Buffalo Bills Radio Network WGR Sports Radio 550.