Goober Pyle

Giorgio Tavecchio’s struggles give Falcons more worry than they want about their kicker

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https://theathletic.com/1157373/2019/08/23/giorgio-tavecchios-struggles-give-falcons-more-worry-than-they-want-about-their-kicker/

 

For the second consecutive week, reporters crowded around Giorgio Tavecchio’s locker. That’s generally really good or really bad.

For Tavecchio, unfortunately, it was really bad. For the third time in four preseason games, he missed a kick. This time, however, his miss wasn’t from long range. It was a 39-yard try, a gimme attempt for an NFL place-kicker. But this attempt went left of the uprights. That adds up to four misses in eight attempts for Tavecchio this preseason.

Forget the fact that the pressure would always be there due to the fact he’s replacing a legend in Matt Bryant. Now that Tavecchio has added an essential chip shot to his misses, this moves his roster status from secure to in jeopardy.

Tavecchio, to his credit, owned the miss — much like he did a week ago. With the cameras and recorders fixated on him, he expressed his disappointment, stating the team “deserves better.”

Head coach Dan Quinn said he would “evaluate that spot like others.” Tavecchio said he wasn’t focused on whether his job is in danger or not.

“My focus is always on myself and controlling the controllable,” he said. “There’s a lot of things out of your control in this business. I know when I wake up every morning, I say a little prayer of gratitude and give my best each day.”

Tavecchio went into the trajectory of his most recent two misses, which both went wide left. As a left-footed place-kicker, Tavecchio said his kicks naturally move to the right. So his objective is to kick the ball to the left-middle of the uprights, and that way if the ball fades right, it splits right down the middle.

That obviously wasn’t the case on last week’s second miss from 52 yards and this week’s lone miss. Tavecchio said he struck both of those balls well, with the ball booming off his foot. But the ball hasn’t moved the way he said it normally does, with it staying left of the uprights.

“It’s been a little disappointing from a results standpoint,” Tavecchio said. “But I can say everything else, I couldn’t have asked for a better experience so far in training camp with teammates, coaches, just my own experience in this football journey. I just want the results to reflect that.”

Said Quinn: “Any time at any position, when we miss the mark, we want to find out why and what we can do to get better. It’s definitely a spot we are continuing to evaluate and that is always the case.”

Facing a salary cap dilemma, the Falcons decided to part ways with Bryant, the legendary place-kicker who made many clutch kicks during his time with the franchise. Tavecchio seemed like a great option to replace Bryant, especially after going 5-of-5 kicking in relief last year, with two of those makes from more than 50 yards. In fact, one was a 56-yarder in a crucial moment against the New York Giants.

This offseason, Atlanta was confident enough to stick only with Tavecchio and not bring in any competition.

Now, it seems the Falcons have two options: Bring in another place-kicker this week to compete with Tavecchio or outright replace him on the roster with another option.

Parting ways with Tavecchio after this game would admit failure on the Falcons’ part, that they didn’t do a good enough job of planning out life without Bryant. Sending a signal to Tavecchio and seeing how he reacts does seem practical. And if Tavecchio misses again next week in Jacksonville, then that might be all the Falcons need when it comes to making a final decision.

Tavecchio, generally an upbeat and positive person, understands the business side of the NFL. Having been a journeyman place-kicker to this point, he knows that if he’s to stick around in Atlanta, he’ll have to fix what’s broken in an extremely short amount of time.

“I’ll take a look at the film and see if there’s anything systemic that needs to be addressed,” he said.

Senat, Cooper stand out in dress rehearsal

Up until Thursday night’s fourth preseason game, defensive tackle Deadrin Senat had been fairly quiet. It led some to speculate whether his roster spot was secure. Senat, for his part, appeared to answer any potential questions about his role in 2019 with his performance in Atlanta’s dress rehearsal preseason game against Washington.

With Tyeler Davison (strained calf) sidelined, Senat was able to rotate up front with the first team.

Early on the first drive, Senat got off a defender quickly to help tackle Derrius Guice for only a 2-yard gain. Two possessions later, Senat was able to beat his man and get to quarterback Case Keenum for the sack. Senat also forced a fumble on the play, with Takk McKinley recovering the football and returning it for 17 yards. The Falcons’ offense capitalized on the turnover by capping a quick five-play drive with an Ito Smith touchdown from 5 yards out. Those kinds of sudden-change plays are huge when it comes to evaluating players.

If the coaches had any doubts about Senat, they might have been put to rest after Thursday’s game. Quinn said he loved the energy Senat brought to the game. From multiple accounts, Senat shows up early and leaves late. While he certainly has some more developing to do, Senat flashed his potential in Atlanta’s final home preseason game.

Likewise, defensive back Chris Cooper was given a starting opportunity with Damontae Kazee (rib) and Kendall Sheffield (hamstring) out for the game. Cooper joined the Kansas City Chiefs’ practice squad late last season, which gave former defensive coordinator Bob Sutton — now a Falcons senior assistant — some familiarity with his game. Cooper seems to have good instincts as a young defensive back. A safety first, he got the start at nickel with Kazee and Sheffield out.

Cooper didn’t disappoint, especially when it came to tackling ball-carriers in space. The fact that Cooper has this kind of versatility could cause the Falcons to think hard about keeping him on the 53-man roster. At the same time, that likely would mean Atlanta would be going with five safeties, and the numbers may not work for five safeties to begin the year on the 53-man roster.

But if the Falcons are able to plug Cooper on the practice squad, he would be a quality developmental player who could receive a call-up if needed during the 2019 season.

Return woes continue 

The Falcons drafted Marcus Green in the sixth round to be their return specialist — or at least have a chance to earn that role. Through four preseason games, Green hasn’t had a return that stood out. He has also dropped two punts, the second coming during the second half against the Redskins. It was a bad drop, too, and led to a turnover. Washington was able to recover and scored with the short field.

Later in the second half, Olamide Zaccheaus was given a punt return opportunity only to drop it, as well. Like Green, Zaccheaus now has two punt return drops this preseason.

“It doesn’t always go like you want, especially for a rookie,” Quinn said. “But you have to live through those moments and keep pushing them forward and learn from them. They’ll get some more chances next week when we head down to Jacksonville.”

At this point, the Falcons have no choice but to go with Kenjon Barner as the team’s punt returner to open the season. When it comes to being a returner in a broad sense, Quinn said that Barner will “lead the way for us.” But while Barner deals with a minor injury, Smith has received some reps at kick return, as well.

Smith, who also has seemingly locked down the No. 2 running back job, was the first man back at kick returner to open the game. He didn’t log a return. Still, it’s a job he wouldn’t mind doing if the Falcons’ coaches want him to do so.

“Last year I did it a little bit,” Smith said. “I didn’t win the job, but it’s just something that’s up for grabs right now. They threw me back there.”

Having returned kicks in college at Southern Miss, Smith said he’s comfortable with the job.

“Extra touches,” he said.

 

 

Jumpin Jehosaphat likes this

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The team is really not that good right now, bottom line.  It's only preseason but I've seen enough to say that.  We're going to get beat week 1.  We really can't be missing any field goals because we are just not more than 3 points better than most teams we play -- not right now anyway.

The entire season will go only wherever the offensive line can take us.  We need injury luck too, but that goes without saying.  Fortunes can change across 16 weeks like the weather.  Hope for sunshine.

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33 minutes ago, DogIsYourName said:

The team is really not that good right now, bottom line.  It's only preseason but I've seen enough to say that.  We're going to get beat week 1.  We really can't be missing any field goals because we are just not more than 3 points better than most teams we play -- not right now anyway.

The entire season will go only wherever the offensive line can take us.  We need injury luck too, but that goes without saying.  Fortunes can change across 16 weeks like the weather.  Hope for sunshine.

Except for last year, when they had a rash of injuries hit in the first two games, the Falcon have always started strong in the Quinn era, see no reason for that to change this year.

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1 hour ago, DogIsYourName said:

The team is really not that good right now, bottom line.  It's only preseason but I've seen enough to say that.  We're going to get beat week 1.  We really can't be missing any field goals because we are just not more than 3 points better than most teams we play -- not right now anyway.

The entire season will go only wherever the offensive line can take us.  We need injury luck too, but that goes without saying.  Fortunes can change across 16 weeks like the weather.  Hope for sunshine.

How the **** did you get to this assumption after watching the team play the last couple of preseason games? Are you actually watching the same game I am? Cause we have looked great in basically all aspects with deep depth at most if not all position's. Like how you think we look bad I don't get it. 

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1 hour ago, DogIsYourName said:

The team is really not that good right now, bottom line.  It's only preseason but I've seen enough to say that.  We're going to get beat week 1.  We really can't be missing any field goals because we are just not more than 3 points better than most teams we play -- not right now anyway.

The entire season will go only wherever the offensive line can take us.  We need injury luck too, but that goes without saying.  Fortunes can change across 16 weeks like the weather.  Hope for sunshine.

0-16 here we come... time to draft a new QB.

capologist likes this

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1 hour ago, DogIsYourName said:

The team is really not that good right now, bottom line.  It's only preseason but I've seen enough to say that.  We're going to get beat week 1.  We really can't be missing any field goals because we are just not more than 3 points better than most teams we play -- not right now anyway.

The entire season will go only wherever the offensive line can take us.  We need injury luck too, but that goes without saying.  Fortunes can change across 16 weeks like the weather.  Hope for sunshine.

Hmmmm it's a good thing you haven't seen the team yet in preseason.  I mean are you seriously judging our team's success from pre-season? How long have you watched NFL football?

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I'd give Dan Bailey a try, 87% career percentage and only 31. He had a rough couple of years but if he gets his head together he is more proven then Tev ever was. A new scene may do him good.

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Chris Cooper is turning out to be a very nice find. I think Sutton had the inside scoop on him, but he reminds me a little of Chauncey Gardner Johnson coming out of Florida. A versatile DB, not just a safety or corner. Put him out there and he does is thing. 

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**** why do the ODD numbered years have to always be bad for the offense (or offensive line for that matter). Matt Ryan is an even numbered year guy statistically (this has nothing to do with how good the TEAM is). 

This preseason our defense takes a big leap but since Dan Quinn and Dimitroff decided to scrap our entire O-line except for Jake Matthews and an old Alex Mack, we could be in a heap of trouble coming into the regular season. Not to mention our kicking issues now.

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1 hour ago, DogIsYourName said:

The team is really not that good right now, bottom line.  It's only preseason but I've seen enough to say that.  We're going to get beat week 1.  We really can't be missing any field goals because we are just not more than 3 points better than most teams we play -- not right now anyway.

The entire season will go only wherever the offensive line can take us.  We need injury luck too, but that goes without saying.  Fortunes can change across 16 weeks like the weather.  Hope for sunshine.

You've seen enough? Lol ok

No Julio. No Freeman beyond maybe 5 total snaps. No Debo. Yep. You've seen it. Dam shame we aren't preseason champs.

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11 minutes ago, mqg96 said:

**** why do the ODD numbered years have to always be bad for the offense (or offensive line for that matter). Matt Ryan is an even numbered year guy statistically (this has nothing to do with how good the TEAM is). 

This preseason our defense takes a big leap but since Dan Quinn and Dimitroff decided to scrap our entire O-line except for Jake Matthews and an old Alex Mack, we could be in a heap of trouble coming into the regular season. Not to mention our kicking issues now.

Ok because you've been around, I'll give you a legit response. 

Why the panic about the OL? 

The Jets game was bad. Yes, it was ugly. But it wasn't a lack of talent. When you scrap an entire OL, the hardest thing to get is communication and cohesion. It was not worth avoiding those growing pains to keep Schweitzer, Fusco, and Schraeder for continuity purposes. You saw last night, with some level of gameplanning, Matt had a consistent pocket and we had a consistent running game. You also have to remember there was no Julio and beyond Ridley and Sanu, those guys weren't getting open. It's not their fault, it just shows you the major impact Julio has on the entire passing attack. They blocked well. 

Trust me. It will be fine. 

Goober Pyle and Godzilla1985 like this

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     The only thing we now have to be very concerned about is the Kicker... As I've said in a few other post,, It's amazing how important a Kicker can be.. As loaded as this team is this year. If we miss on any position,, at all.... WE can't afford to miss on the Kicker!!  They are just to important It's like we only have one,, You cannot say OK, we'll just use our great backup ,, That's just not going to happen,,

 OK, I got that out,,, I'm sure TD and Quinn will read my post and get it done....  :D   No,, I'm sure they understand how important this is,, they may wait till after the cuts , WE can pick up a cold blooded vet who has ice in his vain's .... That can at least hit every extra point and a 40 yard FG.. I'll take that right now!!  WE have a very strong team this year.. so to have a 2nd ranked Kicker will be good enough.  

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1 minute ago, Draftnut57 said:

     The only thing we now have to be very concerned about is the Kicker... As I've said in a few other post,, It's amazing how important a Kicker can be.. As loaded as this team is this year. If we miss on any position,, at all.... WE can't afford to miss on the Kicker!!  They are just to important It's like we only have one,, You cannot say OK, we'll just use our great backup ,, That's just not going to happen,,

 OK, I got that out,,, I'm sure TD and Quinn will read my post and get it done....  :D   No,, I'm sure they understand how important this is,, they may wait till after the cuts , WE can pick up a cold blooded vet who has ice in his vain's .... That can at least hit every extra point and a 40 yard FG.. I'll take that right now!!  WE have a very strong team this year.. so to have a 2nd ranked Kicker will be good enough.  

Bring in somebody. Anybody up to this point.

You can't have a mentally-stunted kicker in the NFL. Too many games are decided by a kick.

Draftnut57, NCFalconfan and sdogg like this

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2 minutes ago, Statick said:

Bring in somebody. Anybody up to this point.

You can't have a mentally-stunted kicker in the NFL. Too many games are decided by a kick.

True,, He may be good in a couple of years.. but let some other team train him while they are trying to get their team in the position we are in right now.  WE can't let this be our weakness,,  on this very very strong Falcon team this year.. And I'm sure Blank,,, TD.... and Quinn feels the same way. I say they will trade , Buy, Beg ,, or borrow a good kicker for this team,, they can't let this be our weakness... Much to important. 

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It was good to see Senat showing out. Dude is a little stump who packs some power. I've been saying this the whole time, Tevvechio will be alright if he stops compensating for where he thinks the ball will end up. Just strike the ball with your inside laces and aim for the hash marks. 

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With the second half offenses being so bleh, he isn't getting enough chances to kick more. I would guess they like what they see in practice and he isn't hitting it in games. 

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We haven't even had our entire starting unit out for a single play so far and some folks are throwing in the towel on this team. SMDH. Must be people who just started watching NFL football. 

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3 hours ago, FalconBlood23 said:

How the **** did you get to this assumption after watching the team play the last couple of preseason games? Are you actually watching the same game I am? Cause we have looked great in basically all aspects with deep depth at most if not all position's. Like how you think we look bad I don't get it. 

I got that assumption because Matt Ryan has been hit about 20 times in less than a full game's worth of plays, Clairborn looks like our most consistent pass rusher, and our kicker is shanking half of his attempts.  We have to improve if we're going to win 10+ games.  There have been moments when the lines have flashed some abilities but I'm definitely not just going to blindly buy the hype!

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6 minutes ago, DogIsYourName said:

I got that assumption because Matt Ryan has been hit about 20 times in less than a full game's worth of plays, Clairborn looks like our most consistent pass rusher, and our kicker is shanking half of his attempts.  We have to improve if we're going to win 10+ games.  There have been moments when the lines have flashed some abilities but I'm definitely not just going to blindly buy the hype!

You realize they looked like this in 2016, then went on to the super bowl, right?

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