Danny Smith has total confidence in Chris Boswell. And he’ll make sure to let you know about it. A very excited Smith sat down with Bob Labriola in this week’s Coordinator’s Corner to talk about why he does.
“You take a situation two years ago with this kid,” a jubilant Smith said via Steelers.com, “he did a great job, he’s banging balls, and we go to Kansas City in a playoff game and don’t score a point other than his field goals and go to the next round. He comes off a Pro Bowl season, the kid was the best kicker in the AFC last year. Not by me, voted by his peers. And now, he’s struggling. That’s the nature of the game. That’s the National Football League. I don’t lose sight of what this kid has accomplished. That’s why I have full confidence in him. Does he need to make the kicks? Yes. Are we going to keep sending him out there? Yes. And he will produce. We’re confident in that or he wouldn’t be here.”
Boswell’s first field goal against New England couldn’t have gone any worse, pulling a 32 yard “chip shot” wide to the right. But he made up for that miscue, nailing a 48 yarder late in the game to push the Steelers lead to seven.
His situation was an unexpected saga heading into the year. But as Smith pointed out, there’s always a couple teams who have to deal with it and unfortunately, the Steelers became one of them. Deciding to hold onto Boswell for another week, Smith brought in ex-Steeler Shaun Suisham as less of a coach but more of a friend and guy who can empathize with those struggles.
Smith said he called Suisham early in the week, the two already talked on a regular basis, and floated the idea of having him come in for a day or two. Mike Tomlin gave the ok and agreed it was a great idea.
“Shaun and I were in a very similar situation together. An exact situation together. His experience affected me of somebody to talk to. It’s a kicker to kicker kind of thing.”
The two worked together for a long time. Smith was the special teams coach in Washington from 2004 to 2012, where Suisham kicked for nearly three seasons. His time there was abruptly cut after his own misses, shanking a 23 yarder late in the 2009 season. The pair reunited in 2013 when Smith was hired by the Steelers.
Smith said having that kicker-to-kicker discussion is important.
“When a coach talks to a coach, they speak a different language. When a kicker talks to a kicker, they speak a different language. It’s not good, bad, right, wrong, it’s just a process. It was a good thing to do. Shaun is awesome and I think it was excellent. And Shaun did a great job in what he asked him to do. It wasn’t coaching. It was a friendly voice with a similar experience.”
During his Tuesday press conference, Tomlin said there were no plans to make a kicker change as they travel to New Orleans this weekend. Kickers have made 77.2% of their field goals at the Mercedes Benz Superdome this season.