The Pittsburgh Steelers effectively put kicker Chris Boswell on notice earlier in the offseason when they asked him to push back the $2 million roster bonus, he was due in March to the final cutdown day. That bonus being pushed back and all, Boswell still managed to bank it by having a strong training camp and preseason on his way to keeping his job as the Steelers kicker.
On Tuesday, Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin was asked to talk some about what led to Boswell retaining his job as the team’s kicker and if he has confidence right now in him ahead of the 2019 regular lesson about to get underway.
“He was really consistent throughout the process,” Tomlin said. “He essentially answered all the challenges that we presented to him. And we in this room talked openly about some of the challenges that we created for him in practice and in stadium situationally and so forth. He was really consistent.”
During the recently concluded preseason, Boswell, who had a disastrous 2018 season that included him making just 13 of 20 field goal attempts and just 43 of 48 extra point tries, made both of his field goal attempts and all four of his extra-point kicks. He also seemingly kicked off fine.
While the Steelers did sign kicker Matthew Wright during the offseason to challenge Boswell during the summer, it was clear early in training camp that he wasn’t going to push the incumbent for his job. If anything, Wright’s presence may have just put some tiny pressure on Boswell, but in the end the incumbent kicker knew he was safe if he made his kicks
“And I’ve said it before, no matter who they bring in, it’s me versus me, it’s not me versus another kicker,” Boswell said on Monday. “Because as you all see, we get different opportunities throughout the preseason and kicks are different. So as long as I make mine, that’s all I’m focused on.”
Boswell first kick of the 2019 regular season is likely to come Sunday night against the New England Patriots in Foxborough at Gillette Stadium, a place where he’s already missed a few easy kicks. In the Steelers January of 2017 AFC Championship road loss to the Patriots, Boswell, made a 23-yard goal and one extra point. However, he also missed an extra point in that game as well as a 23-yard field goal attempt.
While Boswell ultimately retained his job as the Steelers kicker this summer and in the process finally collected his $2 million roster bonus, his job in Pittsburgh is far from safe. A bad start to the regular season Sunday night against the Patriots won’t cost him his job but if he winds up struggling through the entire first quarter of the regular season, it’s unlikely he’ll be a member for the last three quarters of it.