Moore: Seahawks can’t shake kicking problems even after adding Pro Bowler
For Jason Myers’ sake, I’m really glad the Seahawks beat Tampa Bay 40-34 in overtime. Can you imagine the stuff he would have seen on social media if they had lost?
For a kicker, there’s no in between – you’re either reliable, which makes you great, or you’re not, which makes you trash.
To many Seahawks fans, Myers woke up Monday morning as trash. He missed three kicks Sunday – an extra point and two field goals, one from 40 yards that would have been the game-winner, and fortunately for him it wasn’t the game-loser.
Myers was supposed to solve a kicking issue that’s going on three years now, ever since the Seahawks did not want to give a nice enough contract to Stephen Hauschka to keep him around. Hauschka went to Buffalo and is 8 for 11 on field goals and 16 for 17 on extra points this year.
Myers is 12 for 17 on field goals and 24 of 26 on extra points. After signing a four-year, $15.45 million deal with $5.5 million guaranteed, his results aren’t living up to the contract.
He might be the latest example for those who think kickers are like relievers in baseball – highly unpredictable from one year to the next. Just because Myers was good enough to be a Pro Bowl kicker last year with the Jets doesn’t mean he’ll be all that great in Seattle, which has certainly been the case.
I still don’t think we’ve reached Blair Walsh levels of angst from 2017, but there is undoubtedly reason for concern. Even on my flat screen Sunday, I sensed a kicker who had lost his confidence just from reading the look on his face. He reminds me of a golfer who hits fairway after fairway and then he hits one in the rough to the left and starts to doubt himself a little bit. So he overcompensates and blocks it out to the right. That turns him into a complete circus, second-guessing what he’s doing while he tries to figure it out on the fly.
It sure seems like kickers have the most fragile minds in the NFL. Quarterbacks throw interceptions, receivers drop passes and running backs fumble, but they all bounce back nicely. With kickers, they don’t always bounce back. Bad kicks get in their heads and they’re never the same again.
Some might have mechanical issues, but with most it seems like it’s more mental than anything else. A therapist has a better chance to help them than a kicking guru, if such a thing exists.
It appears that most fans have low tolerance levels for struggling kickers. But I feel bad for them. They’re not seen as actual football players, but they hold one of the most important positions on the team. When they fail to deliver, the consequences can be devastating.
Ideally, I didn’t want the Seahawks to win Sunday on a touchdown, even if it must have been a thrill for Jacob Hollister to get the walk-off touchdown reception from Russell Wilson. I wanted Myers to get a second chance to win the game with a field goal that would have more than made up for his earlier misses and likely would have erased all of the doubts in his mind.
He’ll go into next Monday night’s game at San Francisco with everyone questioning his ability to put a ball through the uprights. And the worst part? He’ll be first in line, having those questions himself.
I thought about what I would say to Myers after Sunday’s game if I were his dad. I’d probably tell him to hang in there and give him a hug and say something about tough people outlasting tough times or some cliché like that.
Then I’d be on the edge of my seat, praying to the football gods that my kid will come through the next time he kicks.
It’s gonna go one way or the other, and once again, there will be no in between. Myers will either restore the faith of the 12s by kicking like he did with the Jets the rest of the year or he’ll go farther south, turning into an absolute zoo, prompting kicker tryouts and his release from the team.
I’m giving him a mulligan. Yes, he had a bad game, but until Sunday, he hadn’t been terrible. Most of his misses came from long distance. I hope he gets an opportunity to beat the 49ers and redeems himself with a kick that goes right down the middle.