When the Falcons let Matt Bryant go, I don’t think there was a Falcons fan alive who thought “well, Giorgio Tavecchio will be better!” It was clear the Falcons were trying to save some money and avoid a situation where the ageless wonder aged and they were left scrambling, so they went with a reasonably young, reasonably cheap option who performed well for them in limited chances last year.
It wasn’t difficult to argue with the wisdom of that move, but given the relatively kicker-friendly confines of Mercedes-Benz Stadium and Tavecchio’s strong performance a year ago, I thought it was at least defensible. When he essentially missed two kicks over the first three weeks of preseason—one was tipped, so I didn’t hold that against him—I figured he was getting some hiccups out of his system. Even if he wasn’t, the Falcons figured to be loyal after making a pretty drastic move to cut a living legend for a guy without a lot of NFL kicking success under his belt.
The honeymoon is now over, any way you slice it.
Dan Quinn says he will “evaluate” the kicker spot after tonight’s performance. #Falcons— William McFadden (@willmcfadden) August 23, 2019
Saying you’ll evaluate a position is very different than a vote of confidence, but Tavecchio only got one shot at a field goal and blew it against Washington, missing a 39 yarder that is hardly a chip shot but shouldn’t be a particularly difficult kick, either. The Falcons know they’re not getting Bryant-like greatness out of Tavecchio, but they also can’t reasonably roll through the season with a player hitting 50% of his field goal tries, and that’s where we’re at with Tavecchio. I still think if he can kick the jitters (sorry, sorry) that he’ll be fine for the regular season, but a team with championship aspirations like the Falcons also isn’t going to be overly patient with a guy who can’t hit his tries.
My guess is that the Falcons will work out a couple of options this week—Chandler Catanzaro and Cody Parkey have had success in the past, Bryant isn’t going to be cheap or particularly thrilled but is still very much available, and Nick Rose was with this team in the past—but won’t move to sign anyone just yet. If Tavecchio falters against versus Jacksonville, a move may well happen, and I’m preemptively sweating over the thought of the Falcons getting trapped cycling kickers like so many teams do after they didn’t have to for over a decade.
It’s fair to wish they had never cut Matt Bryant in the first place, but given their options at the moment, I really hope they can stick with Tavecchio and have him succeed. None of the alternatives are cheap or pretty.