France wins kicking job

When the Giants reported to training camp, Todd France was considered the longshot in a three-man competition for the kicking job. <BR><BR>

But Matt Bryant, the kicker each of the last two seasons, was waived on July 30. Then Bill Gramatica, who was signed on May 14 after three seasons with the Arizona Cardinals, suffered back spasms, likely factoring into his release on Aug. 31. Suddenly France, who had twice been in camp with the Minnesota Vikings without attempting a kick in a game, shot to the top.

"I'm very surprised," France admitted. "I don't believe I'd be here if Bill and Matt hadn't gotten hurt. It's just one of those things that happened. Coming in I didn't have much of a shot, I didn't think, with the two veterans here. It's funny the way things work out."

Assuming he doesn't stumble against the Ravens, France will be the Giants' kicker on opening day in Philadelphia.

"Todd France has done a good job," Coughlin said. "We are going to continue to work with him and I expect that he would be, yes."

Asked how confident he was that he could be the kicker when the Giants face the Eagles, France said, "I really don't know. That's up to the coaches. I think if I put a good game together in the last preseason game, then I'll get a shot at starting."

Despite France's inexperience, Coughlin said he is confident in the young kicker from Toledo.

"With the exception of that (short) kickoff into the wind, he has done pretty much what we have asked him to do," Coughlin said. "We would like them (his kickoffs) to be longer. I have said that before, a thousand times. But we are continuing to work with that and yesterday's performance on the practice field was good. So I felt like that was the direction we needed to go in."


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