By Jay Skurski
Buffalo Bills special teams coach Bruce DeHaven denied a rift with former punter Brian Moorman contributed to the team's decision to release him Tuesday.
"I liked Brian. I think he tried to do everything we were trying to do in the punt game," DeHaven said after practice today. "I have absolutely no problem with Brian in terms of any kind of relationship or anything he was trying to do when he was here. He was helpful. I thought he bought in to trying to do what we were trying to do."
DeHaven did not go into details when asked why the decision was made.
"I think I'll go with what [General Manager] Buddy [Nix] said. He's the guy that speaks for the organization," DeHaven said. "In terms of reasons for the move, I'll stick with what he had to say.
"I don't want to say anything that would denigrate Brian in any way. He had a great career here. He's got a great reputation in town. The move has been made, and I don't want to say anything that might be misconstrued as something negative about Brian."
On new punter Shawn Powell, who at 6-foot-4 and 235 pounds is the biggest in team history, DeHaven said, "Personally, I've always liked tall punters. I just think it's a deal [where] you've got more leverage. Most of your big, tall golfers hit the ball a little bit farther than the shorter guys. There's more of an arc there. … It's not that the punters that aren't quite as tall can't kick as far because there's some like that in the league. But right now most of the punters that have come into the league in the last five or six years are 6-4 or 6-5."
Backup quarterback Tyler Thigpen will do the holding Sunday on extra points and field goals. Both Thigpen and Powell have worked on holding in practice.
"Tyler might have been a hair smoother than Shawn is right now," DeHaven said. "There wasn't a whole lot of difference. They're pretty close to the same. I just like the idea that Tyler has been handling the ball more over the last month.
"Shawn’s been down there in Georgia, punting. But he hasn't been catching snaps. He hasn't been handling the ball a lot. I kind of like the idea of a guy that's been taking snaps from center. He's been in the league. And now Shawn's only got one thing to think about, and that's punting. I believe that at some point he'll be the holder because he's doing a good job."
DeHaven said from a practice standpoint, it's better to have the punter hold.
"I made Chris Mohr wait two years to be the holder one time," DeHaven said. "Of course, I had a pretty good holder in Frank Reich. You'd rather the punter be the holder because it's easier during the week, during practice."