I have only a few rules on this blog, most of which aren't really important and are actually more like general guidelines rather than rules when it comes right down to it.
With that said, I think I've decided that my number one rule is that I will gladly put your company name (Reebok) in big bold letters (REEBOK) all over this blog (REEBOK) if your PR firm contacts me and asks if I'd like to speak with one of the Eagles' current players.
I'm talking to you, Campbell's Chunky Soup.
Which is how I ended up talking to David Akers by phone this afternoon. They said I had five minutes, he ended up giving me 10, and this is how it went:
IB: What happened last year and what are you doing this summer?
DA: What happened last year? Well, we didn't win enough games and this summer we're working hard to change that -- come home with a Lombardi Trophy down Broad Street. How's that for you?
IB: That sounds awesome, how about you?
DA: Myself... I'm really doing a lot of training. I changed up my routine and I'm doing something a little different. If you understand, it's really more like a plyo[metrics] and quick explosion ... Also, lost a little weight, which I didn't really know I needed to lose, but I tried it that way and ended up losing weight and that's been pretty cool.
I'm actually getting a lot more time with my holder and my snapper, because we were all kind of new last year together. [We did] pretty well under 40 yards last year and really bad over 40 yards, which made us have a so-so season...
So we're really working on that. We've all three been here for the whole offseason, so we're doing that together. And just trying to get better.
IB: That's awesome. What's your 40 time at your new weight?
DA: My 40 time?
IB: At your new weight...
DA: Ha ha. I don't know. I haven't run 40s for 12 years.
IB: That sounds about right.
DA: I ran a 4.6 coming out of college and I haven't run that since then.
IB: That's gotta be up there for a kicker.
DA: Yeah, it was pretty good. Probably out of everybody [which = other specialists], I'd be pretty close to the top of the chain there, except for Buffalo's punter, who's like a world-class sprinter. I can't mess with Brian Moorman, but everything is going pretty well that way. I lost actually like eight pounds of fat. I didn't know I had that much fat to lose.
IB: That's impressive. So everything's coming together with Rocca and you feel like some of the holding stuff may be ... we're not gonna see Detmer as a late season signing again?
DA: [Pause] Well I'd never be disappointed about getting Detmer as a late season signing. [Laughs] Sav has increased his percentage of hitting the mark, tremendously. Where he left off last year -- the thing is it's the same way he was as a punter. As you saw the season progress with Sav as a punter, he just increased each week, got better and better. Take the one week out where they wanted him to do all these crazy punts against Chicago, he had some big, big bombs in crucial games. So I was really, really impressed the way he improved as the season went on.
And the same thing happened with his holding. Before, if he got a snap that was a little off, and he had to make adjustments, it was a little slower. Now, I was just telling some other people that we were actually told this minicamp to slow down. We were going too fast. And that's usually the opposite. Usually you have to kind of speed yourself up, especially this time of year and then you get in through training camp and you find ... how everything needs to be timing-wise and we were right on the money.
I was really, really kind of surprised about that. I think that was the most consistency as far that goes this early in the season. Mainly because those years with Koy and Mike, we were always apart during the offseason. We've had some time to work together this year with Jon and Sav and myself.
IB: I know you've gotta pay the freight here with the REEBOK thing and the reason we're talking, is there anything you want to say here about that?
DA: I was talking about this with some other guys, Reebok joined up with me about six years ago -- or I was able to join the Reebok team. I was having a hard time finding cleats that would benefit the way I kick. I have a very unique style as far as how I come down on the ball, very much like a golf club does, and I needed some shoes that would actually be able to withstand the impact. I wanted a football bottom, rather than a soccer bottom, to give me more grip and I wanted a soccer top. They said fly on up here and we'll design a shoe. I've been using them ever since, been able to go to the Pro Bowl with them. So it's really been a great relationship that way.
But also, doing this offseason training, Reebok came out with this new technology called the Reebok HexRide Rally. Instead of me having to fly up to their offices to design a shoe, shoot man I can go right over to Dick's Sporting Goods and pick 'em up. They're only 85 bucks over there.
Especially this time of year. People that know me know -- and literally I'm not trying to be some promo guy -- I'm so in tuned to what I have to wear on my feet, both on the field and off. So when I'm training, I have to have the shoes that feel good to work out in... For myself and a bunch of other guys in the NFL, it's the only shoe we'll wear.
IB: That's great, so I guess my last question: Are you doing any more of those cool commercials this year?
DA: That's very interesting. You'll have to ask those guys that.
That was kind of cool [last year]. It was kind of a last second thing. That was kind of an interesting thing, because everyone always asks: "Was it real or not real?"
We went out to a local high school and they said: "We'd like to do a deal where we snap the ball and you kind of volley it out of the air." I said, all right, well, how about this, whenever I'm walking around and I have three or four footballs in my hands and I need to grab another one, I kind of kick the ball against my one foot and it pops the ball up in the air so I can just grab it.
So I kind of did something like that, so then I started wondering, what if I could pop it up in the air and kick it? I popped it up and kicked it and [thought] that's cool, let's try it again. So we went through the whole thing and it took us about six or seven takes to get it all right, but I did pop it up and kick it.
Did it go 60 yards? You be the judge.
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All in all, he seemed like a really cool, down-to-earth guy. And I'm glad to hear about Rocca (as are 100,000 of our Aussie friends).
Here's that video he was talking about: