Kicking in cold weather an adventure for Miami Dolphins’ Andrew Franks

Part of Andrew Franks' responsibility is being realistic about his range. (AP)

Part of Andrew Franks’ responsibility is being realistic about his range. (AP)

DAVIE—Andrew Franks has had plenty of cold-weather kicks in his life, especially after playing collegiately at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in New York, and he’ll have to rely on those years of experience when the Dolphins visit Pittsburgh on Sunday.

The temperature is forecasted to be a high of 19 degrees, which will be Miami’s coldest game of the year. Franks has tried to prepare by kicking frozen footballs at practice this week, but that hasn’t helped a ton since it’s been at least 80 all week.

“As soon as you put it outside, it only lasts like 10 minutes because it’s so frickin’ hot,” said Franks. “It gives you a little bit of a feel for it.

“You know the ball isn’t going to travel as far. You know how the ball’s gonna fly, you know how it feels… The contact is a lot less elastic. It’s just going hit quicker. You’ll have less feel on it. It’s a tougher surface. You need to get cleaner contact, whereas when it’s warmer it’s more forgiving.”

Franks has hit 29 of 37 field goals this year and 41 of 42 extra points. In the December games at Baltimore, Buffalo and the Jets, he went 2 for 4. He hit from 55 and 27 and missed from 46 twice. His only missed extra point was at New York.

His pre-game routine to gauge his range begins with kicking extra points from 33 yards, then he moves back in five-yard increments. His long also changes at each of the field if the wind is significant.

While he’s normally accurate from up to 65 yards in Davie, there comes a point in environments like this when he has to admit he’s not comfortable from that distance.

“Before the game, you find whatever point that is where you’re hitting your normal ball and it’s getting through,” he said. “In cold weather that’s usually 53 or 54.

“It’s tough coming from here and you’re hitting longer ones that are totally nonchalant, then you go in there and you feel like you’re smoking it and it’s not going far enough. But it’s part of the game. It’s understandable.”

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