The game on Monday night against the Giants showed why having a good kicker can be the difference between a win and a loss. Fortunately for the Falcons, the kicker on Monday was not the one who has saved the team countless times over the past several years.
Newly signed kicker Giorgio Tavecchio came “off the street” to go 3 for 3 - including nailing a 57 yarder late in the game - to help the team secure the 23-20 win over the G-men. It was an impressive performance for the 28 year old Italian who played in all 16 games for the Oakland Raiders in 2017.
The impressive performance has fans wondering what the team will do going forward. Matt Bryant has been nearly super heroic in his time in Atlanta, but his recent injury combined with his age has caused some rumblings about what the team may do in 2018. Here are the potential options.
Cut Matt Bryant, commit to Giorgio Tavecchio
Matt Bryant has been amazing for the team since he joined the Falcons in 2009. The first playoff victory for Matt Ryan was secured by his clutch kick against the Seahawks, which few fans will ever forget. Yet, at 43, Bryant is already on borrowed time in NFL years. While Morten Andersen kicked for the team into his late 40s, there’s no guarantee Bryant can do the same. The recent injury to Bryant only served to remind us of his age and to wonder if this injury is the first of more to come.
Tavecchio stepped in and was incredibly impressive. Granted, it was just one game, so some precaution is warranted. However, we all know the team will eventually have to replace Bryant. If “Italian Ice” can do this again (assuming Bryant misses another game), the team may have to think strongly about their future at the position.
Stay with Matt, cut or trade Italian Ice
I think it’s important to point out that even though Bryant is 43, he’s been incredibly durable since joining the team. He’s played all 16 games every season since 2010 except for 2015, when he missed 5. He’s been one of the most clutch kickers in the league during that time as well. If the team had any concerns about his durability, they certainly didn’t show it when they signed him to a 3 year deal in March of this year, securing him through the 2020 season. Kickers as consistent as Bryant are hard to come by. Kickers that are as beloved as Bryant is in Atlanta are even more so.
As impressive as Tavecchio was, there’s no guarantee he’ll continue to deliver as consistently as Bryant has. No NFL team can keep every single good player they come across, so even if we lose (or trade) Tavecchio to another team, it won’t be the first or last time that has happened.
Keep them both for this year
This option seems so absurd, we had a fight about it in the Falcoholic writers chat. Yet, it may be what the team ends up doing. The idea of keeping two kickers on your 53-man roster for an extended period of time is normally preposterous, but this could seriously be a consideration for the team. Matt Bryant may need some additional time to get back to 100%, which means keeping Tavecchio around may be a necessity. While keeping 2 kickers seems insane, it’s important to remember that you must have guys inactive every Sunday regardless of position. Even if that 2nd kicker is taking the spot that a defensive lineman may be taking, neither player is going to contribute if they’re on the game day inactive list. It’s not an ideal scenario, but it could give Matt Bryant time to heal properly and the team time to figure out if Tavecchio is a potential heir apparent.
Tell us what you think the team should do by voting in our poll below:
What should the Falcons do at kicker?
This poll is closed
Keep them both for 2018