Is there a proper etiquette for when a man is about to lose his job, and it’s regarded as welcome news? Pro sports can be cruel, perhaps no more so than to an NFL place kicker, whose job security is minimal and week to week, based on performance. Cundiff actually told the Washington Post magazine all about it in 2010.
This post isn’t to lament that life though. Cundiff is an accurate, accomplished kicker, but he doesn’t have it right now. The Redskins gave him extra leash after the Tampa Bay game, he missed a 31-yarder against the Falcons, and now they’ve apparently decided to replace him with Olindo Mare, Josh Brown or Kai Forbath, though the job could go to someone else. If nobody impresses, perhaps Cundiff stays, though that seems unlikely. He’s lost trust.
What stands out most to me though is that Graham Gano and Neil Rackers aren’t on speed dial. The players who were the Redskins’ options in preseason both remain free agents. Gano seemed like he was good enough for the Redskins to give him the job, until Cundiff suddenly became available. Now he’s not even good enough to come in for a tryout?
A couple of logical explanations though — The coaching staff has seen enough of Gano and Rackers, either figuratively, or literally and in the sense that they don’t need to try out.
Mare and Brown are accomplished, but so were Cundiff and Rackers. NFL place kicking can be a streaky thing, and a team that isn’t overwhelmingly good in other areas can’t really afford to wait around for its kicker to work things out. But there’s also no guarantee a guy who currently doesn’t have a job will be any better. The kicker carousel makes one appreciate the Adam Vinatieris and David Akers’s out there.
There were some good comments on this in yesterday’s post. Here are a few more questions to start the morning off: Does anybody out there feel comfortable giving Cundiff another shot? Who would you rather see in here? (Don’t be afraid to admit you’re not an expert on kickers, and say ‘anybody more consistent.’) Do you think it’ll make a difference, maybe win or not cost the Redskins a game this season?