Is there anyone on this Pittsburgh Steelers roster who needs to have a better camp than Chris Boswell? It’s hard to point to anyone else. Boswell’s job is literally on the line. Kick well and he’ll probably make the team as their Week One kicker, even if regular season success won’t be magically guaranteed. Struggle the way he did all through 2018 and he’s likely on the street when the Steelers travel to Foxborough, losing his job and a roster bonus – pushed back in March – due at the start of the year.
Although it’s *just* training camp and Boswell’s kicks will face little resistance, Mike Tomlin knows the pressure is on already.
“No high pressure kicks? Speak for yourself,” Tomlin said when asked about Boswell kicking in Latrobe. “We’re going to create a little pressure…I think you underestimate this environment if you say it’s pressure free. This is a highly competitive, pressure filled setting. That’s the nature of NFL camps and I don’t think specialists are removed from that.”
Boswell struggled through last season, connecting on just 65% of his field goals and 90% of his extra points before landing on injured reserve prior to the regular season finale. That all came after he earned a four year, $16.8 million extension a little less than a year ago.
Tomlin said creating pressure at camp is simple to do.
“We spot the ball. And we ask him to perform and we pit him against other viable competitors. Not only him but everyone. That’s what you do in these settings.”
The Steelers will also have one or two “emergency” kicks throughout camp, running the field goal team onto the field with time running out to see how the whole unit responds. That simulates an end-of-half/game kick with the clock running and no timeouts.
Of course, there were no troubling signs last preseason of a bumpy 2018. Boswell kicked fine throughout camp and went a perfect 7/7 on field goal tries. Three of those were from 40+, connecting from 41, 42, and 45 yards out.
This August, he’ll battle UDFA kicker Matthew Wright. Last year, the Steelers had just one backup specialist, punter/kicker Matt Wile. He performed well and pushed Jordan Berry but was ultimately cut and latched on with the Minnesota Vikings for all of 2018.