That gives the Falcons back their best kicker since Morten Andersen, and arguably the best one they’ve ever had. Aside from injuring himself powering through a game sealing field goal against the Buccaneers, Bryant has shown no signs of slowing down or losing his leg. Having him back as the Falcons try to cling to their faint playoff hopes is a legitimately big deal.
Of course, Giorgio Tavecchio filled in admirably for Bryant, and now we’re going to find out whether the Falcons can and will actually keep two kickers on the active roster. As our own David Walker wrote in October, the Falcons have options here, and they’ve indicated that they might be willing to hold on to both and give Tavecchio a shot at the job next year. As great as Bryant has been and continues to be, he is 43 years old and will be 44 next year, and it’s probably fair to say that the Falcons are nervous about how long he can work miracles.
The sensible and expected option might be to cut ties with Tavecchio, as teams rarely if ever hold on to two options at the position at the same time. But is a sixth linebacker or fourth running back or whatever the Falcons add more valuable than a kicker they might actually turn to in 2019 and beyond? Reader, I submit the answer to that is not a clear yes.
Ultimately, it’s my expectation that Tavecchio will stick around, especially if Atlanta’s playoff hopes are extinguished entirely. The Falcons clearly like Italian Ice and are probably thinking about a longer-term solution at the position. Things might change if the Falcons face more injuries and really need that roster spot, but given the dearth of quality kicking options in the NFL and Tavecchio’s successful audition, no one should be surprised if he’s hanging around in January.