The Pittsburgh Steelers’ season ended a few weeks earlier that they had planned it to, but now that their 2015 campaign has drawn to a conclusion, it’s time to wrap things up and take stock of where they are and how they got there. Part of that process involves holding player exit meetings at the conclusion of each season.
Of course, we’re not privy to the specifics that go on in each of these meetings between head coach and player, and whomever else might be involved in any particular discussion, but if we were conducting them, it might go something like this.
Player: Chris Boswell
Experience: 1 Year
If you were to be told that a team was on its fourth kicker of a season, and that that kicker had never played in a regular season game before, you would likely assume that that team was in pretty back shape, at least as far as the kicker position was concerned.
And when the Steelers signed Chris Boswell after Josh Scobee missed two field goals to help prop up an overtime loss the week prior, that was the general feeling. It would be hard for it to be anything else. Boswell was in two training camps over the course of the previous two offseasons and failed to make a roster. What will have changed, other than the team’s own necessity?
Of course, the 25-year-old first-year player would go on to prove his worth and more, successfully converting 29 of his 32 field goal attempts over the span of the 12 regular season games in which he played, boasting an accuracy of 90.6 percent.
He then proceeded to go a perfect seven-for-seven in booting field goals during the Steelers’ two postseason games, setting the franchise record for the most field goals made in a postseason by a first-year player. He also set the franchise record for the most made field goals by a first-year player.
While he managed to go two-for-two on field goals beyond the 50-yard range, there has been a bit of a false narrative developing that suggests he has a fairly big leg, which is not supported by the fact that he registered just 26 touchbacks on 74 kickoffs, barely one third, which ranked toward the bottom of the league in that regard.
His ratio of kickoffs to touchbacks did improve during the postseason, but that included kicking in the high elevations of Denver. His selling point shouldn’t be about his leg, which doesn’t appear to be anything more than fairly pedestrian in this era of the NFL. Where he has done very well in his young career has been in keeping his composure and treating every kick the same.
The Steelers have two kickers under contract that figure to vie for the starting job entering the 2016 season. His competitor, Shaun Suisham, has been very good for the team, and only missed last season due to a torn ACL. But Boswell has youth, health, and price on his side.