You may be hard-pressed to find many remaining skeptics over the alleged quick-trigger-finger release of veteran kicker Josh Scobee after he missed two field goals in a three-point overtime loss to the Ravens a couple of weeks ago.
With every kick that goes through the uprights off the foot of a man wearing yellowish gold pants and a black helmet, the presumption of rashness erodes incrementally, and confidence builds in a player who had never been in a regular season game before last week.
Scobee was the third kicker of the season for the Pittsburgh Steelers, believing that they had made the best of a terrible situation after placing two kickers on injured reserve during the preseason. They pulled the trigger on a trade that included picking up $2.5 million in his 2015 salary, only to part with him four weeks into the season.
Of course, he also missed as many field goals as he played in, including four out of his 10 total attempts, with the ridiculous trivia nugget that his kick that was tipped was not among the four misses. He also missed an extra point attempt on top of the missed field goals.
Just days after his unceremonious release, the Steelers signed first-year kicker Chris Boswell, who most recently lost a training camp battle with the Giants during the preseason for the kicker position.
In the two games played since, he has made five field goals on five attempts, or one less than Scobee had in half as many games, and half as many attempts. But as significant as the percentage, as well as the accuracy, is the distance.
Four of Boswell’s five made field goals came from a distance of at least 47 yards. To be specific, two came from 47 yards, a third came from 48, and a fourth came from 51. He hit on each of those distances yesterday, to go along with a fourth short field goal, totaling 13 points in the Steelers’ 25-13 victory.
The first-year kicker came into a precarious position with nothing to lose, and he has played like it, knowing that the expectations for him were essentially nonexistent—or more accurately, simply yet to be established.
I do believe, however, that his lack of a resume helped him in entering such a tumultuous situation, becoming the Steelers’ fourth kicker of the year on a team that has championship aspirations, and one that just so happens to have been weathering an injury storm for its franchise quarterback.
Of course, it’s easy to withhold criticism for a kicker before he’s missed one, and it’s a virtual certainty that he will miss one. In time, he will receive his due scorn for whatever mistakes that he makes in the future, and anybody who uses two games as a sufficient sample size for most things is a fool. But until he falters, there is nothing to be said of him other than that he is off to a very encouraging start.