clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

A Different Take: The Kicking Competition

I was reading another Texans blog looking for some sort of writing inspiration in the doldrums that is June of the football calendar and a certain distinguished writer said that Houston's kicking battle will be decided in the preseason. Even if this is likely true, I think the competition should be over now. Hear me out, BRB.

Kris Brown went 5-of-10 in last Thursday's organized team activity, including four straight misses that will be his last kicks until July 30th. After that display, general manager Rick Smith should thank Kris and send him on his way. It's over. It's done. Neil Rackers should be the second kicker in the history of this franchise.

I know what you're thinking right now. "TDC, why are we talking about kickers? it's just OTAs. As you have said, it's just men in shorts! This is too soon! We need to wait! Let them battle it out in the preseason! Can we really make this decision now?"

Yes. Absolutely. 100%. Do it now. 

A team can only go to training camp with 80 players. As we saw today, for the Texans to add anyone, like say the four unsigned rookies, they have to cut someone. Why not give a position player a chance to impress? Why take up a spot with an additional kicker when the answer seems to have presented itself? Hit the jump to see why I believe this competition has already been lost by Kris Brown.


Rivers did a good job in detailing the marginal differences among the various stats of Rackers and Brown here. I won't beat a dead horse. Rackers is marginally better, historically, than Brown. In 2009, well....yeah. No need to compare there. Kris Brown should have entered the offseason with something to prove and everything to lose.

What's Going On Now
In OTAs, both men have kicked 28 FG attempts against each other in "competitive situations." Neil Rackers has made 93% of his FGs while Kris is behind at 79%. Yes, all that offseason work really seemed to change Brown's fortunes in OTAs.

Yes, it's only OTAs, but that's my point. There's no crowd, no defense, no game on the line...none of it. This is practice. Kickers at practice have a fairly easy time. That's not to say their job doesn't take skill, but in practice the conditions are far more in their favor. You either have a snap, hold, and kick or you kick from a tee. You don't like to make decisions based on practice, but kicking is something you either can or can't do.

Kris Brown's sole job is to kick it hard, kick it far, and kick it accurately. He knows his job's on the line and still misses four straight to end the week? Really? Will it change? Probably not in Houston.

Seen This Show Before
Kris Brown has, what I like to call, Lidge-itis. The guy's a head case, a streaky kicker, and lets mistakes get to him. We've seen the columns on that. There's proof of that on the field. With Pittsburgh in 2002, Brown missed 14 FGs and three missed extra points. Kris changed his surroundings, got away from the fans calling for his head, and rebounded until last season's 11 FG shank-a-thon. The misses just built upon themselves. When you look at his career game log, you'll see that his misses come in streaks - just like last Thursday.

Kris Brown missed one, which then turned into four straight. That's the last impression of him until training camp. Rackers? Well, Neil doesn't seem to let one miss bring him down. I'm not saying Neil Rackers will have 100% accuracy when he wins should he win the job. The odds aren't on his side.

Missed FGs will happen. There's only four kickers in 90 years of NFL history with 100% season accuracies. In other words, Texan fans need to make sure they're doing OTAs to keep their livers in check. Whoever kicks for the Houston Texans in 2010 will likely miss a FG. When that happens, that kicker is going to have to shake it off and make the next one. 

You have to wonder what a miss especially in a game-losing choke job will do to Kris. In the past, it has been a bad streak. Now what happens when Brown misses and gets the fans and press talking? Will Kris try too hard and revert back to missing 26 and 28 yard FGs as he did in 2009? What proves that Brown can shut it out and regain his form? Brown's streakiness is not going to help a team that has serious playoff aspirations. Perhaps it is in everyone's best interest to just move on since things don't look too good.

Right now, Kris Brown is a professional kicker who knows his job is on the line and is missing kicks in gym shorts. The worst part is that these practice misses appeared to have gotten in his head. If that doesn't tell you it's time for a change, then I don't know what will.

Sound off in the comments below. Am I off base? Is it time for Kubiak to hitch his wagon to Rackers to create competition at other positions or should the kickers battle through training camp? Do you still believe in Kris Brown or is he a goner to Lidge-itis?