The Pittsburgh Steelers are having about the worst luck I’ve ever heard of in terms of kickers this season, and last night’s game may have them on the lookout for their fourth one of the year.
After veteran and long-time Steelers kicker Shaun Suisham was lost for the year with a torn ACL and his replacement, Garrett Hartley, suffered a hamstring injury severe enough to knock him over to injured reserve, Pittsburgh traded a sixth-round draft pick in order to acquire veteran Josh Scobee.
The long-time Jaguar proceeded to miss two kicks in the fourth quarter against the Baltimore Ravens on Thursday night, which gave the division rivals the opportunity to drive for the game-tying field goal that sent things into overtime. Even the two kicks he made skated through the uprights.
The Steelers had two drives on offense in the extra play time, and instead of going for a field goal, they played for the first down on both occasions, such as their loss of confidence in their new kicker. Pittsburgh ultimately lost the game after failing to convert on both fourth downs.
On the year, Scobee has missed four field goals, as well as an extra point. He has made just six of 10 field goals for an accuracy rate of just 60 percent through a full quarter of the season.
While he has performed well on kickoffs—a rare change of pace for the Steelers—his level of play in his primary duty as the place kicker has been so unreliable that the front office is no doubt serious considering releasing him on the spot.
Pittsburgh really thought that they had found an answer with Scobee after going through two kickers during the preseason. The veteran kicker is a former Pro Bowler who has proven to have a big leg, and his recent resume had been impressive when his kicks were not blocked.
But he is clearly not where he needs to be from a mental standpoint right now, something that he acknowledged recently, and once a kicker gets the yips, it’s often very difficult for him to recover.
As it currently stands, the Steelers simply cannot depend upon him after missing multiple field goals in two of their four games played. In spite of the fact that they gave up a sixth-round draft pick and ate up $2.5 million owed to him from his 2015 salary, it may very well be in the team’s best interests to part ways prior to them playing another game.
Should that be the case, then the team will be on the hunt for its fourth kicker in the span of the past two months, after stringing together several years of reliability with Suisham. You can definitely directly attribute this loss at least in part to Scobee, which is never something that you want to be able to say about your kicker.
The Steelers tried to turn a weakness into a strength by going out on a limb to get Scobee, and at the time, it seemed like a good plan, but his transition from Jacksonville to Pittsburgh has been anything but smooth, and perhaps it’s time for it to draw to a close.