Blair Walsh has been in Atlanta for just a few days, and fans have been freaking out about him since the moment he signed. But not in a good way.
Tuesday’s practice didn’t help matters. Media members in attendance, myself included, tallied Walsh at five for nine during the open portion of practice. After practice, Dan Quinn cautioned us to not read too much into that.
“I’d be careful looking into that. I think that’s a dangerous subject to go through … so I’ll go back and look through, but I would say be careful of just looking at one thing from practice,” Quinn said. “We don’t usually give in to giving out stats for that. That’s a dangerous subject.”
It is fair to bear in mind that Walsh is adjusting to a new snapper in Josh Harris and holder in Matt Bosher, and that he’s likely got some rust to shake off after sitting at home through the 2018 season. If Walsh shanks some easy ones in Thursday night’s game, then Quinn understands if fans get worked up. But he cautioned us all to take practice with a grain of salt.
“And so in the game, that’s everybody’s right to react, and that’s where the performance is measured,” Quinn said. “But we’ve gotta work hard out here to get it right, but I think looking at stats and that one, who knows what the person, hey, am I trying to focus on something different or working a technique or a tweak?
“We’ve got to give players the right to practice. I think that’s a dangerous subject when we don’t do that.”
Quinn said that Walsh did have a better practice on Monday.
“I don’t think he hit it as well today. But we’ll get a chance to see where it goes in the game,” he said.
Walsh signed with the Falcons on Aug. 24 in the wake of Giorgio Tavecchio’s four-of-eight performance this preseason. Former Falcons kicker and perpetual fan favorite Matt Bryant, 44, remains unsigned by any team. Bryant missed three games in 2018 due to injury, and Tavecchio performed so well that the team kept both kickers on the roster until moving on from Bryant in February.
The team could wait until after Week 1 of the regular season to re-sign Bryant or pursue another tried and true veteran to avoid being on the hook for a fully guaranteed salary. But in the meantime, let’s see what Tavecchio and Walsh do on Thursday.