ALBANY - There are many different forms of pressure. Owen Pochman today experienced the kind of pressure that only peers can apply.
All Pochman has been asked to do is replace Morten Andersen, the likely future Hall of Fame kicker who was not resigned because of salary cap reasons. Pochman has never kicked a field goal in an NFL game (he missed his two attempts last season) and what Jim Fassel put him up to following the afternoon practice was designed to get a glimpse into what the young kicker is made of.
Fassel decided to do what he always does around this time in training camp. He put the heat on his kicker, making a deal with the team that if Pochman hit a 47-yard field goal, there would be no conditioning running after practice.
First, Fassel showed a flair for the dramatic. He called Tiki Barber and Michael Strahan to come forward and asked them to devise a plan for the contest. "I figured those guys had to come to an agreement on something,'' said Fassel, alluding to the off-season ugliness that created a rift between the two players.
It was decided that on the line was a double-or-nothing proposition. If Pochman made the kick, there would be no running. If he missed, the entire team would have to run six sprints instead of the customary three.
Amid cheers and then hushed quiet, Pochman lined up for the attempt. "He was three sheets of white when he was lining up for it,'' Fassel said.
Pochman's nailed a line drive that sailed through the uprights and was promptly lifted onto the shoulders of Brandon Short, as if Pochman had just won a game with his kick.
"Hopefully, it's one of many that I'll make,'' Pochman said.
Other Camp News
The first live goal-line drills came in the afternoon and it was not a memorable performance for S Shaun Williams. He interfered with TE Taman Bryant in the end zone and then, on consecutive plays, rookie FB Darian Barnes got the best of him.
Barnes first carried Williams into the end zone after a catch and then leveled Williams with a block to spring RB Delvin Joyce for a TD. Damon Washington and FB Aaron Kernek also scored TDs.
There does not seem to be a spot on the roster open for Darnell Dinkins, the fourth quarterback in camp. That doesn't mean Dinkins cannot catch the eye of the head coach. Fassel, commenting Dinkins, said "I like the guy, a lot. Somewhere, somehow I'd like to find a way to work with that young man. He is the single hardest-working player in this camp.''
That sort of praise can't be ignored, even though there is no place to stick Dinkins on the roster, with Kerry Collins, Jesse Palmer and Jason Garrett lined up at the position. Still, it never hurts to impress the head coach.
An impressive athlete at 6-3 and 234 pounds, Dinkins played in college at Pittsburgh, where he was at times shifted to defensive back, receiver and a variety of other positions. "I think I played everything and drove the team bus at Pitt,'' he said.
Dinkins may be an interesting prospect, but he already is far ahead of the other three quarterbacks when it comes to the post-practice sprints. "Jason [Garrett] tells me 'Dink, if you're going to beat us, don't beat us by 20 yards,' '' Dinkins said.