The offseason is inevitably a period of projection and speculation, which makes it the ideal time to ponder the hypotheticals that the Pittsburgh Steelers will face over the course of the next year, whether it is addressing free agency, the draft, performance on the field, or some more ephemeral topic.
That is what I will look to address in our Buy or Sell series. In each installment, I will introduce a topic statement and weigh some of the arguments for either buying it (meaning that you agree with it or expect it to be true) or selling it (meaning you disagree with it or expect it to be false).
The range of topics will be intentionally wide, from the general to the specific, from the immediate to that in the far future. And as we all tend to have an opinion on just about everything, I invite you to share your own each morning on the topic statement of the day.
Topic Statement: Steelers kicker Chris Boswell will return to form, or at least competence, in 2019.
Explanation: As we head deeper into the offseason, it’s sounding as though the Steelers are increasingly confident that Boswell will remain their kicker in 2019. Though he still has to win the job, assuming that he does, the question then becomes how he will perform, going from Pro Bowler to very nearly replaced in less than a year.
Alex Kozora has already done the leg work previously, suggesting that there is good evidence behind the ability of kickers to bounce back after a bad season. Boswell certainly had a bad season, but it is the aberration, the deviation from the norm of his career.
Just the previous season, he was hitting game-winning field goals with time expiring and making all of his kicks from distance. He made the most field goals and scored the most points in a season in franchise history.
You’re not going to tell me that that player is suddenly just completely gone because Boswell missed seven of 20 field goals last year (as well as five extra point attempts). He may have some mental hurdles to get over, but he can get over them, and Danny Smith has already said that he has looked good so far this spring.
First of all, there is the matter of Boswell actually winning the job, which is not guaranteed, especially since it comes with another $2 million owed on top of it if he makes the team. It doesn’t have to be rookie Ian Berryman who beats him, either. They could make a trade for another kicker, or sign one who is cut.
Assuming that he does win the job, though, we are banking on seeing both a mechanical and psychological improvement from him, which is a lot to ask, even if they can go hand-in-hand. Even Smith admitted that there’s no way to know if he’s really back until he starts hitting a game-winner or two and making clutch plays.