2015 has not been kind to kickers. The tendency is true league wide, and nowhere is it more true than in Pittsburgh. Shaun Suisham tearing an ACL during the Hall of Fame game was bad. Perhaps Jeff Reed getting ejected during the same game was an even worse omen.
- In came Garrett Hartwell. Out went Garret Hartell.
- The Steelers traded for Josh Scobee
- Josh Scobee missed 5 of 17 kicks
- Steelers cut Josh Scobee (who, if his agent is to be believed, is nursing a quad injury)
The Steelers have signed Chris Boswell who played his college ball at Rice University. One of the interesting things about Chris Boswell is that he knows how to nail an on sides kick:
That’s some fancy footwork.
Will it fool hardened NFL special teamers? Probably not, but it’s good to know he possesses that caliber of athletic talent. And lest ye forget, while Shaun Suisham’s absence is painfully felt in Pittsburgh this year, Suisham was 0-3 in kicking recoverable on-sides kicks in both 2013 and 2014.
- But if things go well, the Steelers won’t need Boswell to attempt too many on-sides kicks.
Boswell’s job will be to put the ball in the end zone on kickoffs and split the uprights at all other times. Looking at Chris Boswell’s NCAA kicking stats from his time at Rice University, Boswell did pretty well.
- And you’ll notice, place kicking isn’t all that Boswell does.
Chris Boswell also punts. In fact, he got his first tryout for the Houston Texans as a punter. In the 2014 preseason he punted 14 times for and totaled 619 yards for an average of 44.2 yards. Those aren’t Jordan Berry numbers (on a good day) but they’re not bad.
Boswell also kicked a field goal for the Texans in preseason but, more ominously, he also missed two extra points. As noted when the Steelers signed Boswell, he made 4 of 4 field goal attempts for the Giants in the 2015 preseason.
- Like one of his predecessors, Jeff Reed, Boswell won the job by kicking at Heinz Field.
As a Texas native and an alum of Rice University, Boswell doesn’t have experience kicking in the cold and windy Northeast, experience that Mike Tomlin cited when the Steelers signed Sushiam in 2010. But when asked about his try out by Jim Wexell’s Steel City Insider, Boswell revealed:
Yes. It was good. It was an experience. It was pouring rain and windy, and all the elements you want. I hear it gets pretty bad up here so it was kind of a good test and good competition as well.
At the very least, Boswell has necessary attitude for kicking successfully at Heinz Field. Will that attiude translate in to success in pressure situations? Time will tell. For now all we can say is “Welcome to Steelers Nation Chris Boswell.”