Steelers: Kicking conundrum


Usually, kickers silently do their jobs and quietly pick up points. Every once in a while, you’ll see one pop up in the news for a long distance FG or trick shot, or if they’re unlucky, for getting hurt. The Steelers have been unfortunate enough to have two pop up in the news in the past two weeks, and both by injury.

In the HoF Game, not only did the Steelers lose to the Vikings, they also lost their starting kicker Shaun Suisham to an ACL tear. The evil turf monster of Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium claimed him as he ran down the field on a routine kickoff. To replace him, the Steelers held open tryouts.

Pittsburgh brought in kickers Jay Feely, Alex Henrey, and Garrett Hartley, and ultimately decided on

Aug 29, 2015; Orchard Park, NY, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers kicker Garrett Hartley (8) kicks a field goal as punter Brad Wing (9) holds during the first quarter against the Buffalo Bills at Ralph Wilson Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

Hartley. The former New Orleans Saints’ kicker posted a career 81% FG percentage, but the team cut him after he missed an easy 26-yard attempt that would have won the game.

In three preseason games, Hartley was 4-4 with his longest FG coming from just under 50 yards out. It began to look like the Steelers would be alright at kicker after all. Just as things seemed well, the turf monster struck again. Hartley went down with a right hamstring injury against the Bills.

With Hartley likely to miss at least one regular season game, the Steelers were once again forced to look elsewhere for kicking solutions. This led to a trade with the Jacksonville Jaguars for veteran kicker Josh Scobee. Scobee was drafted in the fourth round of the 2004 draft and has recorded an 80% FG percentage.

Pittsburgh now hopes that the addition of Scobee will solve their kicking issues for good. Whether or not it will be Scobee, Suisham, or someone else kicking for the team next season, at least there is a solid solution for this season.

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