The Seahawks recently decided to move on from their long-time kicker after signing a guy whose missed chip-shot against Seattle in a playoff game seemed to ruin him. Now with the Bills, kicker Stephen Hauschka recently reflected on the move.
“I thought it was interesting that direction that they would go in,” Hauschka said, via Vic Carucci of the Buffalo News. “But I’m not really concerned about that anymore because my job’s just to go out there and kick and that really doesn’t have anything to do with me now. But, yeah, it was definitely an interesting move.”
Blair Walsh, who was cut by the Vikings after his postseason aberration in January 2016 against Seattle became the rule during the regular season, will get the chance to prove to the Seahawks that getting fired and spending the rest of the year out of football has helped re-set his brain. If the Seahawks keep him, it’ll cost only $1.1 million. Hauschka made $2.7 million in 2016, and he’ll get $2.6 million from Buffalo in 2017.
Still, Hausckha has been far from perfect, missing (as Carucci notes) 11 extra points over the last two years — along with a stunning miss of a 28-yard field goal on a Sunday night in overtime last year. There’s no guarantee the change of scenery will change the trend for Hauschka.
“It’s definitely been an adjustment,” Hauschka said, per Carucci. “You look around the league, there have been a few guys who have their challenges with it. I’m looking forward to figuring it out, because it’s not the same as it used to be. . . . The 20-yard extra points, those were just chip shots, they really were. I don’t think many NFL guys were going to miss those unless something were to really happen with the snap and the hold. But a 33-yard extra point just brings out that precision.
“You need to be on it with the snap, the hold and the kick all need to be there and you can’t really get away with it. Plus, I think the biggest difference is you used to have about 25-30 field-goal attempts a year and then a bunch of chip-shot extra points. Now you have 25 field goals and maybe 30 to 50 extra points. That can feel like 60 to 70 field goals in a season now, so you’ve got to be mentally sharp the whole game, the whole season and there’s really no room for error.”
Well, there is room for error because plenty of guys are making them. The question becomes how much will teams tolerate the error before finding a kicker who can make the extra points more consistently — or simply going for two more often instead.