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: Josh Scobee
Experience: 11 Years
It is time now to talk about everybody’s favorite kicker, Josh Scobee, for whom the Steelers traded away a sixth-round draft pick, and committed a couple million in salary, in a move that they felt settled their kicker position for the season when the need arose.
As you will recall, of course, veteran kicker Shaun Suisham suffered a torn ACL during the preseason. His replacement eventually went down with a hamstring injury. Desperate, the front office pulled the trigger on this trade, feeling as though they had solved their problems.
It didn’t exactly work out that way, as the veteran had a tumultuous four-game tenure with the Steelers. In 10 total field goal attempts, Scobee missed four, including pairs of misses in the season opener and in an overtime loss against the Ravens, the latter especially stinging.
Scobee missed two field goals in the first half against the Patriots, which, if made, could have at least given the team the opportunity to attempt a two-point conversion at the end of the game to try for a tie. As it was, they lost the game by seven points after scoring a touchdown very late.
Against the Ravens, the Steelers were playing understaffed on offense. Scobee’s two critical fourth-quarter misses overshadowed determined defensive play, who could only stop Baltimore for so long before they were able to kick a game-tying field goal to send it into overtime.
So shaken by Scobee’s yips were the Steelers that they didn’t even give him the opportunity to hit a long-range field goal in overtime, twice attempting to convert on fourth down on the cusp of field goal range, both of which failed. Baltimore went on to win with a game-winning field goal after the second failed conversion.
The veteran kicker was released after that game, and that was the end of the story—except for the fact that they were still on the hook for his salary, of course. Scobee also said later in the season that he was dealing with an injury during that game.
One positive of the very brief Scobee tenure is that he managed to record a touchback on 60 percent of his kickoffs, recording one on 12 of 20 attempts. Without him, the Steelers were about half as successful, or at the very least stopped trying as a matter of rule to record touchbacks.