Following a summer writing great in-depth predictions for the BAFA NL Premiership North, Team DC member George Buksmann got an opportunity this week to head along to the Seattle Seahawks training sessions, as the West Coast side prepare for their Wembley outing this weekend.
Ever a fan of non-US athletes getting a shot in the Big League here at DC, George took a look at the Australian Punter Michael Dickson’s transition to American Football, as the Seahawk rookie joined fellow Seattle players in a post-practice NFL Play 60 event earlier this week:
Rookie punter Michael Dickson has been turning heads for all the right reasons ahead of the Seattle Seahawks International Series game vs the Oakland Raiders.
The 2018 fifth-round draft pick unseated 10-year veteran Jon Ryan for the Seahawks punting job ahead of this season.
The Seahawks clearly liked what Dickson showed them, as they traded up with the Denver Bronco’s to acquire him.
“John Schneider and his guys did a really good job figuring that out during the draft this season,” said Head Coach Pete Carroll, “We made a little move to get him, we really wanted him on our team. Really, he had done nothing but show us more stuff that he has. We didn’t realise all of the dynamics that he brings, he’s been a really good asset.”
The 22-year-old’s background is certainly one reason why the punter drew such a crowd from the media. Dickson is Australian, from Sydney, and until 2015 had never touched an American football, but instead played Australian rules football.
By September Dickson was playing in his first football game having earnt a scholarship from the University of Texas, in 2017 he was the recipient of the Ray Guy Award as the nation’s best punter and was named MVP in Texas’s victory over Missouri in the Texas Bowl.
“There’s definitely crossover, the balls are different shape, the Aussie rules balls are easier to kick as they’re less pointy, but there are definitely kicks from Aussie rules that you can take over here, trying to pin them deep is just like hitting a pass in Aussie rules football or trying to get one that curves a certain way, so there are different types of kicks that definitely transfer over.
“One day [I’ll champion myself for a fake punt] I’m looking forward to that day, yeah definitely, coming from Aussie rules when you run it that was the hardest thing only getting a couple of steps to try and put all your power into a kick.”
Dickson has gained somewhat of a reputation for being able to pin teams well within their 10-yard line, consistently dropping the ball on the one with a variety of kicking styles.
“He’s just getting going,” said Carroll, “He hasn’t hit everything right, but he’s been very productive so far. He’s really becoming a weapon for us.”