Yes, you’re reading this correctly. One of my most important guys for the Steelers’ 2016 season is a kicker.
Don’t think a kicker is important? Ask Patriots’ fans how they feel after Stephen Gostkowski missed a PAT in the AFC Title Game… Fact is, Boswell’s importance now grow seen larger after the Steelers released former kicker Shaun Suisham on Friday. That decision effectively puts an end to the kicking competition many of us expected to see during training camp.
If Mike Tomlin is smart and has learned from his mistakes then he will have somebody in camp that resembles a kicker to avoid the catastrophe from last year. Coaches however are famously stubborn so don’t hold your breath there.
Much in the same way Suisham was a savior when the Steelers needed him, so too was Boswell. The undrafted and unheralded kid from Rice University was unknown to folks outside of football prior to his arrival in Pittsburgh but he didn’t waste time in endearing himself to the fans.
That came on the heels of an injury to Garrett Hartley and a woeful performance from Josh Scobee. So enter Boswell who played in 12 games and promptly went on to make 29 of 32 field goals including two of two from fifty yards plus. That last one is crucial because that’s where Suisham often struggled.
Boswell also went seven for seven in two postseason games against Cincinnati and Denver. In my mind, those are the kicks that make Boswell so crucial to this team’s success in 2016. Remember too that he also banged in the game-winner after the fireworks against the Bengals which was impressive as well.
This coming season, Boswell enters as the team’s primary kicker and will handle kickoff duties as well. With a high-powered offense expected to be in enemy territory a lot in 2016, Boswell becomes a player who must produce. It’s a lot to ask for because our expectations are already so high but by all appearances Boswell seems to be ready for the challenge.