It’s time for yet another installment of Thursday Thought. This week I’m going to address a problem that is brewing for the Buffalo Bills that is not getting near the attention it deserves. It’s a part of the game that gets overlooked yet is vital for success. This week’s thought: The Bills kicking and punting is a problem that nobody is talking about.
After watching the Bills second preseason game, my initial thought was that the Bills played a good game. The Josh Allen to Cole Beasley connection looked very sharp. The defense dominated again. Even Andre Roberts and Isaiah McKenzie looked impressive as returners. However, it was not all sunshine and rainbows, as the Bills kicking (including punting) was once again subpar. After missing a chip shot field goal last week against the Colts, kicker Stephen Hauschka missed another make-able field goal this week. It was a 48-yard attempt that just leaked to the right. This now makes Hauschka just one for three on field goals this preseason.
Now some may be thinking that it’s just preseason and that the former pro-bowl kicker is fine. The issue is that Hauschka struggled down the stretch last season too. Hauschka started the 2018 season by making 16 out of 17 of his field goal attempts through week 11, but from weeks 12-17 he only connected on six out of ten of his attempts. Overall Hauschka’s field goal percentage dropped in 2018 when compared to 2017 and his career average. In 2018 Hauschka only made 78.6 percent of his field goal attempts, while in 2017 Hauschka connected on 87.9 percent of his field goals. For his career Hauschka has a percentage of 86.4, which is much higher than what he posted in 2018.
The kicking issues don’t just stop with Hauschka, as the Bills punting situation is one to be concerned with too. Many Bills fans are aware of the Cory vs. Corey punting battle that has taken place this offseason. To be honest, I have not been very impressed with either punter thus far. Both Cory Carter and Corey Bojorquez have been very inconsistent during the preseason. One minute they’ll drill a punt 55 yards and pin the opposing team deep into their own territory and the next minute they shank one for 35 yards. Not to mention, these are two very young and inexperienced players.
The Bills kicking game currently rest on the shoulders (or feet rather) of two extremely young and inconsistent punters, and a kicker who is hitting 60 percent of his attempts since week 12 of last season. I’m surprised that this issue isn’t more pressing than it has because it’s a real concern for this football team moving forward. All we can really hope for is that A) Hauschka regains his 2017 form and Corey or Cory emerges as a legitimate NFL punter, or B) Brandon Beane sees this important issue before it’s too late and makes significant moves to both kicker and punter. Hopefully all will be well once the season kicks off, but for now, there is real reason to be concerned with the Bills kicking game.
What do you think? Is the Bills kicking and punting an overlooked problem? Agree or Disagree? Let me know on Twitter or in the comments below.
Mitch Broder is a contributor for The Buffalo Fanatics. To contact him, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @mitchell_broder