Tampa Bay unceremoniously got rid of Matt Bryant in 2008 when they expected the 33-year-old’s career to be wrapping up. They have yet to find a decent kicker despite spending a second-round selection on a kicker only a few years ago.
The Falcons unceremoniously got rid of Bryant this offseason when they expected the 43 year-old’s career to be wrapping up. The Falcons also liked Giorgio Tavecchio, the team’s kicker through three games in 2018. He impressed with some great kicks, including two 50+ yarders against New York Giants. He went 5-5 on field goals and 8-8 on extra points.
Atlanta kept Tavecchio on the 53 to not risk losing him to other teams after signing a two-year deal. There was no training camp battle in 2019: Bryant’s option was not picked up.
Tavecchio was the team’s unquestioned kicker. He’s now a disappointing 4-7 on field goals after three preseason games. Head coach Dan Quinn is getting plenty of questions about Tavecchio and his status with the team.
Quinn said Tavecchio hit “a number” of short and long field goals in Monday’s practice. “The mental toughness side is as important as the physical talent. That’s why I wanted to see him come back and really rip it at practice. We have belief in him and he has belief in himself.”
Quinn sounded quite confident after Monday’s practice. Tavecchio followed up his worst game with a strong practice, which was the biggest thing Quinn was looking for.
“You don’t like to miss them whether they are 30 yards or 50 yarders. He’s a competitor and has the leg strength to take the long shots. That’s the nice part about having a guy like him. I have been pleased on the kickoff side and hopefully we will get some [opportunities] for him that are under 50 yards.”
It sounds like a Bryant reunion will not happen any time soon. Quinn will give Tavecchio the opportunity to get it right and get back on track. It is definitely the right move to wait for him to bounce back. However, another few missed field goals and that could change quickly. Atlanta’s game against Washington on Thursday night will be huge.