EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Matt Dodge isn't likely to forget the greeting New York Giants fans gave him in their preseason home opener on Monday night.
The boos were unmistakable, and a reminder that the punter failed to kick the ball out of bounds in the closing seconds of December's meltdown against the Philadelphia Eagles.
In case you forgot, DeSean Jackson returned the punt 65 yards for a touchdown, capping a 28-point comeback in the final 7 1/2 minutes that allowed the Eagles to escape with a 38-31 win, a victory that helped Philadelphia capture the NFC East.
"It was pretty brutal," Dodge said, referring to the booing on Monday.
The positive for Dodge was he turned the jeers into cheers, hitting his first punt 63 yards.
"First, they were booing. And then, they were like, `Oh, he did a good job,"' Dodge said. "It was pretty interesting. It didn't surprise me. I am getting kind of used to it. I just have to try to keep doing well and win them back over."
After an inconsistent rookie season, Dodge is fighting veteran Steve Weatherford for the punting job.
Dodge is averaging 48.2 yards with a 37.0 yard net in his second preseason. Weatherford is averaging 50.5 yards with a 46.5 net.
"I think it is pretty close and we are punting well," Dodge said. "(Weatherford) punts well all the time, so I have to step my game up just to be on the same field as him. I just have to keep working hard."
Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press