Jay Taylor, punter out of West Virginia, was allocated to NFL Europe by the Browns earlier this year. After kicking camp in Florida, he was allocated by NFL Europe to the Rhein Fire. George Pate from our Rams affiliate GridironGateway.com had a chance to speak to Jay after the Fire's 33-0 defeat by the Scottish Claymores.
GP: Obviously a disappointing game for Rhein Fire, how did it go for you personally?
JT: It was an interesting game. Personally It didn't go very well, the snaps were pretty rough because of the field conditions. The snaps were pretty much off all day which meant we had some problems getting the ball away and I had one blocked and had to run with another. It's not something I get to do much as a punter and it's not something you want to happen but it was a bit of fun and gives me a rushing attempt for the season.
GP: When you've had a bad game as a punter or
kicker how do you get back on track for the next game?
JT: You just have to put it behind you. You're only as good as you're next kick and after the game is over there is nothing you can do. You can't allow that to stay in your head, otherwise you'll be in a mess.
GP: What are you hoping to take from your time
JT: I am hoping to have a good time, playing football and seeing what Europe has to offer. It is a chance to sharpen my skills, but also hopefully to go home with a World Bowl ring.
GP: Rhein Fire are having a successful season ,
what are the strengths of the team?
JT: Obviously our rushing is good with Autry Denson and Frank Moreau who have both played in the NFL. But our whole offense is very strong, that's not to say that defense and special teams aren't strong but apart from today the offense has really shined.
GP: Do you regard yourself as a Punter or a
JT: I was a kicker for 4 years in college at West Virginia and did some punting one of those years. Since then, I've been with a few teams as solely a kicker and with a couple of teams as a punter. Then I spent the XFL season doing both . So it's pretty much got to the stage where I let the team decide what they think I'm better at.
GP: When you have played for several different
teams how difficult is it to adjust to a different snapper?
JT: That can be a problem, if the rhythm of the snapper isn't right it can cause problems. To be honest I didn't think it was much of a problem until this year. But things have been kind of rough over here. Previously I would have said that the holding at Field Goals was the only bit that could be a problem. But having concentrated on punting over here, I've appreciated how important a good snap is to a successful punt
GP: I always understood that Punters and Kickers
don't like making tackles. Would you like to tell me about the day you tackled
JT: It was at college. The whole game, I was trying to kick it away from him and each time I was getting a touchback. He finally managed to catch one in the end zone and took off up the sideline, he wasn't about to go out of bounds so I had to run across and make the tackle. It was just a routine tackle,
GP: What's the most memorable game in your
JT: That's tough. I guess if I had to pick one it would be the Pitt game at college that went to three overtimes and I kicked a Field Goal in one of them.
GP: Who is the best player you have played with?
JT: Probably Amos Zereoue, the running back who is now with the Steelers. He was impressive and still holds the West Virginia record for rushing yards.
GP: Do you play any other sports?
JT: I played soccer, tennis, and basketball growing up. But at college it was pretty much football as that's all I had time for. I also play a lot of golf but I haven't brought my clubs across to Europe with me, in fact I haven't even seen a golf course in Germany. I'm jealous of the guys across here in Scotland who have the chance to play at the Old Course in St Andrews and at Gleneagles.