Dawson looks to continue strong season

Posted Dec 1, 2012

Cleveland Browns kicker Phil Dawson looks to continue his consistent play with this weekend’s game against the Oakland Raiders.

Cleveland Browns kicker Phil Dawson has converted all 21 of his field goal attempts through the first 11 games of the 2012 regular season, and is in the midst of a career-best streak of 27 consecutive field goals.

Dawson has converted five of five attempts from 50 or more yards and all five of his tries in a 25-15 loss to the Baltimore Ravens at Cleveland Browns Stadium on Nov. 4.

“I think he’s been a Pro Bowl quality kicker for a very long time,” Browns coach Pat Shurmur said of Dawson. “I’ve got a great deal of respect for who he is and what he is as a player. I’m really glad he kicks for us. I think all that type of stuff, all those accolades, he’s very deserving of that. I’m not going to sit here and campaign for him, but I do really appreciate what he does for our team.

“I think people understand that when we put Phil out there, we’ve got a really good chance of making our kicks. I know I recognize him as an outstanding player. I know our players trust him a great deal, and that’s what’s important.”

With age and experience, Dawson’s field goal kicking accuracy has increased.

During his first eight seasons, Dawson never converted better than 80 percent of his field goal attempts in more than four consecutive seasons. His best streak came from 2003-2005. In 2003, Dawson made 18 of 21 kicks (85.7 percent). He made 24 of 29 attempts (82.8 percent) in 2004 and converted 27 of 29 (93.1) the next season.

However, over the last six seasons, including 2012, Dawson has made at least 86.5 percent of his kicks and attempted more than 25 field goals in four years.

“I’ve worked extremely hard,” Dawson said. “The experiences pay off. Knowing you’ve done it before, I think, gives you confidence that you can do it again. I’ve had great teammates around me that have given me opportunities.

“(Tight end) Alex Smith is our wing on field goal protection. We put him on their best rush corner each and every week and he takes care of that for me. I’m not the fastest guy to get the kicks off. If you don’t have excellent protection, you’ve got to hurry up the process and sometimes, when you do, you’re not as accurate. I can’t overstate the big role he has provided for me. Being able to be back there, be comfortable, take my time, be accurate, it’s certainly a team effort and I’ll just continue to work hard and see how good I can get.”

In Sunday’s game against Oakland, Dawson will compete against Raiders kicker Sebastian Janikowski, who is second to the Browns kicker in successful field goals of 50 or more yards since the start of the 2011 season.

“Each and every week, I don’t get an opponent across the line of scrimmage, so I try to compete against the guy I’m going against,” Dawson said. “Obviously, going against Sebastian is quite the challenge. He’s one of the best there is and deservedly so with his reputation. I look forward to getting out there and competing with and against him and see how it totals up at the end of the day.”

Dawson will also be competing against Mother Nature on Sunday. Heavy rains and wind have hit the Bay Area and forecasts have those conditions carrying through the weekend.

“I’m just going to have to show up Sunday and figure out a plan,” Dawson said. “The forecasts are all over the place. The consistent thing I keep hearing is the word ‘torrential.’ Where I come from, that means a lot. If it’s that sloppy, you may be limited to what you can do. We’ll just have to show up and I’ll get out early like I always do and try to figure out the best shoes to wear, where to aim and all that. It may be one of those fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants type of days.”

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