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Falcons land K Blair Walsh with Giorgio Tavecchio struggling, make five other moves

It’s a bit of a surprising move, but the Falcons are trying to send a message to a guy who has only hit half of his preseason field goals.

Arizona Cardinals v Seattle Seahawks Photo by Otto Greule Jr /Getty Images

The Falcons figured to at least work out a couple of kickers this week with Giorgio Tavecchio scuffling mightily. I just wasn’t sure if they’d actually go out and sign one with one week of preseason left for Tavecchio to sink or swim.

We’ve got our answers, as the Falcons have signed former Viking and Seahawk Blair Walsh.

This feels more like a shot across Tavecchio’s bow than a signing who the Falcons might expect to take over for their incumbent. Walsh’s last legitimately good season was in 2015, when he hit 87% of his field goal attempts. In 2016 he hit just 75% and in 2017 he hit 72.4%, and he spent the 2018 season home? I guess? He’s always had a strong leg and is 29 years old, so there’s a possibility he could salvage his career, but there were kickers who would seem to be better bets to take over available in the here and now, and there will be more in the weeks to come with final roster cuts on the way.

Walsh still figures to get some work in the game, and could be a short-term replacement for Tavecchio is he’s still wide left on his field goal attempts against the Jaguars. This situation has become messier and less inspiring by the week, so my hope is still that Tavecchio magically rights the ship, enters the year as the kicker, and we don’t need to worry any further. The alternative could be the dreaded kicker carousel, something we’ve been lucky enough to avoid for a long, long time.

Falcons add two more, cut three

In addition to the dramatic Blair Walsh addition, the Falcons made some other depth moves.

Like Walsh, who I think is an extreme long shot to make the roster, new additions Thomas Duarte and Stefan Charles figure to be one week additions. Charles played with the Bills and Lions as a reserve from 2013-2016 and hasn’t been in a regular season game since, and is 31 years old. He’ll soak up some snaps this week with Justin Zimmer and Ra’Shede Hageman dealing with injuries.

Duarte got into a single game for the Dolphins after they drafted him in 2016. He’s just 24 years old, but again, figures to be a long shot to crack the roster and is instead here as an emergency depth option with Jaeden Graham and Alex Gray hurt. Austin Hooper, Logan Paulsen, and Luke Stocker are the favorites for Week 1 if Graham isn’t healthy enough to play.

The three guys the Falcons cut were not players who had much of a shot of surviving final cuts, unfortunately. Kahlil Lewis had a couple of nice games as a deep threat and Shawn Bane was mixing in at returner in training camp, while Tommy Doles joined the team as line depth but barely got any chances with the team adding so many players over the offseason. We wish them all well.