The Pittsburgh Steelers sure love their young kicker, Chris Boswell, who is coming off a Pro Bowl season heading into year four. That is why the front office signed him to a four-year extension worth $16.8 million before the regular season started. And they still love him, in spite of all of his struggles through the first three games.
Following a night in which Boswell missed yet another field goal and a point after try, Head Coach Mike Tomlin was asked after the game if he was worried about Boswell, to which he replied, “no”, before elaborating, albeit slightly.
“You know, we missed a couple of kicks tonight. We’ll take a look at it”, he said. The kicker missed his first point-after try in the first quarter, and later missed a field goal from 47 yards out. “He’s our kicker, man. He’s a heck of a kicker. He’s got to make the ball go through the upright”.
They have to go through the upright. In Boswell’s case last night, they went off the right upright, I believe on both misses. That brings his miss total to five on the season, including three field goals and two point-after tries. Three of them went off the uprights, and the other two were narrow misses.
But they are still misses. And that’s five of them. The Steelers cut Josh Scobee a quarter of the way into the 2015 regular season after he missed four of eight field goal attempts and a point after. Boswell right now has missed three of four attempts on field goals and two of 11 point-after tries. In other words, he has made 10 of his 15 total kick attempts this year, a stunning 66.7 percent, which is bad even before you consider that more than two-thirds of those are merely point-after tries.
Whatever is going on with Boswell is hastily approaching a point of concern, or at least should be, for everybody who is not already concerned. The problem is that it is important in situations such as these for a player going through a spell like this to have the support of his team.
After the season opener in which Boswell missed a point after and a potential game-winning field goal, he talked later on during the week about how much it mean to him that his teammates and coaches are still behind him and believe in him.
That has to continue, I would argue, throughout the year. They can’t afford to cut him, not because of the salary cap implications, but frankly because he is too good of a kicker to give up on.
Coming into this season, he was the second-most accurate field goal kicker in NFL history through his first three seasons. I refuse to believe that he is suddenly incapable of performing well. But he does have to figure out how to get out of this rut, whether it’s physical, mental, or some combination of both.