Lesson learned for Riders kicker

The only thing the Lions could muster against the Riders last weekend were touchdown returns.

Ryan Lankford returned both a missed field goal and a kickoff for scores. And it’s something kicker Gabe Ferraro won’t forget.

Ferraro missed the field goal that allowed Lankford’s 118-yard return. And Ferraro blew a tackle that would have prevented it. As a kicker, the rookie refuses to let himself off the hook.

“We play with 12 guys on the field,” says Ferraro. “I’m one of the 12 and I’ve got the same responsibilities as everyone else at the end of the day. I’ve got to tackle just like everyone else if it comes to me.”

Lankford made a few Riders miss before getting to Ferraro. The kicker threw a shoulder at Lankford around the 30-yard line. Lankford bounced off, pushed Ferraro away, and continued rolling.

“I just took the wrong angle at the guy,” Ferraro explains. “I guess he got the better of me there.

“I think that was a little bit of a ‘Welcome to the league’.”

Head Coach Craig Dickenson says he doesn’t expect kickers will makes tackles like other special teamers will. But they still play an important role.

“Not quite the same but I expect him to set the new boundary and turn it back. And he didn’t do that very well.

“There’s some things we require out of our kickers and punters. And that’s part of the reason we went with Jon this year at punt is we require our specialists to throw their heads in there and make contact. And if they can’t tackle then at least slow him down.”

Lesson learned for Ferraro. And he knows a way to make it easier on himself next time.

“I think the best defence for that is putting the ball through the yellow poles, so I don’t have to worry about that.”

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