The old saying is when you have two quarterbacks, you have none.
But what about kickers?
For the first time in probably a long time, the Pittsburgh Steelers dressed two of them against the Buffalo Bills. Only one played, Chris Boswell, and was again excellent, but coming off an abdominal injury, the team deemed it not worth the risk to make Randy Bullock inactive.
Danny Smith explained the decision to Bob Labriola in this week’s Coordinator’s Corner and said the decision to dress both guys was out of his hands. But one he was predictably happy about.
“You know, I thought it was a great move by Mike. And it was his decision. And I thought he did a great job of involving both kickers. Because Boz is coming off an injury, thought he was fine, practiced fine all week, and then you get up there and you have some slippery conditions and things like that that can occur. All we did was protect ourselves in that environment, when you can, and it was smart on [Tomlin’s] part to pull that off.”
Smith admired Boswell’s competitiveness throughout the week. Because even though I’m sure he was happy for Bullock’s success on a personal level, it was clear he wanted to be the guy against the Bills.
“To be quite honest, he was fine, and he didn’t like the idea [of me watching his health]. I’m glad he didn’t like the idea. That’s the competitor in all of us. When the guy who replaces you in a game goes 3/3 and an extra point and scores more points than anyone in the game, ten points, the previous week, maybe you get a little healthier a little quicker. We don’t have a right and a left kicker. We have a kicker.”
Determining if Boswell could play came down to trust in his health. But Smith made it clear that isn’t always the case with every player. Some you can trust, some you can’t. After all, the player himself is eternally the most optimistic about his status.
“It all depends on the relationship you have with him. If I trust the guy, I ask him how he’s feeling. If I don’t trust the guy, I don’t give a damn how he’s feeling. We’ll make the decision. And you have guys that you trust and guys that you don’t. And I trust him very very much…we have a great relationship and he was very upfront and honest about it.”
Boswell finished the Bills’ game going 2/2 on field goals and making all three of his extra points in less-than-ideal conditions while limiting the Bills’ kick return game. Clearly, he was deemed healthy enough that the team released Bullock, who went on to sign with the Cincinnati Bengals – this week’s opponent – earlier this week.