With the news that Matt Bryant is out for this week’s tilt against the New York Giants, the Falcons are going to need to be in the market for a kicker. It all goes well, it’ll only be for a single week, but we know how these things have gone in 2018.
Given how critical a win is here for a Falcons team hoping to find their footing, they can’t afford to just sign Joe Glassleg off the street and plug him in. The Falcons need somebody who can at least achieve a measure of competence in Mercedes-Benz Stadium if the offense falters close to the end zone, which is possible given how ferocious the Giants pass rush can be on a good day. With that in mind, here are a few potential candidates for Atlanta.
The dots connect themselves. The Falcons worked out Tavecchio and even signed him for a short time this summer when Matt Bryant was dealing with an injury, and the Italian has a good leg even if his 2017 results with the Raiders were not super impressive. His career long is 53 yards and he hit just 76% of his kicks a year ago, plus all but one of his extra points. He’s a solid option in a pinch and was 3 of 4 from beyond 50 yards last year, at least.
Given the Atlanta connection and their interest in him earlier this year, Tavecchio is my guess. But there’s also...
The ex-Georgia kicker has a very strong leg, but didn’t get much of a chance to show it with Atlanta. He received just one field goal attempt all preseason long, which he missed, and two extra point attempts, which he made. While Matt Bosher handles kickoffs for Atlanta, it’s worth noting that Marvin did so twice in preseason and absolutely boomed both of them, so the team could give Bosher leg a little break with Marvin.
The big problem is knowing whether Marvin can hit kicks, especially under pressure, as the Falcons didn’t really challenge him to do so in preseason. He’d be a speculative sort of add for Atlanta, but they at least got a look at him in practice.
I’m not sure if Gonzalez will be ready to try out or not, but if healthy, he’s an interesting option. He’s only 23 years old and hit 75% of his field goal tries in Cleveland in 2017, with a long of 54 yards. He injured his groin and had a disastrous day for Cleveland early this year, which got him an injury settlement, but he should be healthy soon. As the Falcons aren’t looking for a long-term replacement for Bryant at this point, though, he’s likely behind other players on this list.
This depends on the Rams releasing Santos if their kicker Greg Zuerlein returns. If so, Santos would be a stellar addition as an accurate kicker with a solid leg who has been a part of some high-scoring teams over the years. The chances of the timing working out for Atlanta are probably slim, but Santos would be possibly the best addition the Falcons could make, even if it was just for a week.
I still hold out hope that somehow, someway, Aguayo will wind up in Atlanta and enjoy a decade-long career as one of the league’s elite kickers. It’s the only proper way for his sad Buccaneers career to turn into a positive.