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Thread: Boz is gonna have to earn his spot

  1. #21

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    Kevin Colbert Turns Down Chad Johnson’s ‘Offer’ To Kick For Steelers

    By Alex Kozora 

    Posted on May 19, 2019 at 7:48 pm

    Chris Boswell and Matthew Wright will duke it out for Pittsburgh Steelers’ kicking duties. But Chad Johnson wanted to make it a three-man race.

    Earlier Sunday, he tweeted out his encounter with GM Kevin Colbert. On the same flight, Johnson lobbied for a kicker spot but was spurned by Colbert.

    Kevin Colbert is also on my flight, gonna ask for a picture & an opportunity at the kicking position, what’s the worse he can say❓

    — Chad Johnson (@ochocinco) May 19, 2019
    Had no luck lobbying for the Steelers kicking spot ��

    — Chad Johnson (@ochocinco) May 19, 2019
    He did at least snap a photo of the two.

    Pepe & Kevin Colbert (who also coached me in the senior bowl)

    — Chad Johnson (@ochocinco) May 19, 2019
    While Johnson was a headache to the Steelers as a receiver, he does have some kicking chops. He had a four day tryout with the MLS’ Kansas City team before signing a contract with Boca Raton FC this March.

    OFFICIAL: Boca Raton FC has signed @ochocinco for the 2019 season!

    ��: #BocaNation

    — Boca Raton FC (@BocaRatonFC) March 12, 2019
    In the NFL, he connected on an extra point in a preseason game against the New England Patriots back in 2009, too.

    The Steelers are finding their way at kicker after Boswell’s miserable 2018 season before landing on IR late in the season. If Boswell doesn’t bounce back this summer, the team will be in a difficult spot. But it won’t be Johnson getting the nod, something I’m sure no Steelers’ fan will be upset about.
    Steeler teams featuring stat-driven, me-first, fantasy-football-darling diva types such as Antonio Brown & Le'Veon Bell won no championships.

    Super Bowl winning Steeler teams were built around a dynamic, in-your-face defense plus blue-collar, hard-hitting, no-nonsense football players on offense such as Hines Ward & Jerome Bettis.

    We don't want Juju & Conner to replace what we lost in Brown & Bell.

    We are counting on Juju & Conner to return us to the glory we once had with Hines & The Bus.

  2. #22

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    Rookie Matthew Wright given shot to unseat Chris Boswell as Steelers kicker

    CHRIS ADAMSKI | Wednesday, May 22, 2019

    Matthew Wright took an internship in his chosen field of studies – aerospace engineering – as a senior, and he got a job after his December graduation at Lockheed Martin.

    Just in case this whole football thing didn’t work out.

    But the Pittsburgh Steelers called during the draft, and there Wright was at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex on Wednesday during the Steelers’ second organized team activities session of the spring.

    “It’s different,” Wright said of an NFL practice as opposed to a college session at UCF. “But it’s been all good so far.”

    Wright was brought in as an undrafted free agent to compete with veteran Chris Boswell to be the Steelers’ kicker going forward. Boswell was the AFC’s Pro Bowl representative at the position for the 2017 season and signed a lucrative contract with the Steelers just nine months ago.

    But Boswell struggled mightily last season (seven missed field goals, five missed extra points in 15 games), and the Steelers used Matt McCrane for their season finale. McCrane, like Boswell, remained on the roster once the offseason began. But Wright was added to the mix 3 ½ weeks ago.

    “I agreed to come here about midway through the draft on the third day actually,” Wright said. “They called and me, and my agent thought there was an opportunity (with the Steelers), a good opportunity.”

    That opportunity seemingly got better May 9 when the Steelers released McCrane in what can be interpreted as a show of confidence in Wright, who made 77.4% of his field goals and 98.5% of his extra points over three seasons as UCF’s kicker.

    The thought process of Wright’s agent that Pittsburgh represented “a good opportunity” is a subtle reminder of Boswell’s struggles.

    Wright, a Lancaster, Pa., native, said in their relatively short time together he and Boswell have had a good relationship.

    “He’s helpful with everything,” Wright said, “and in just learning how to be a pro out here and ‘every kick matters’ and just treating it like that.”

    Boswell appeared to avoid speaking with media Wednesday, taking a circuitous route around gathered reporters after practice.

    Also the kickoff specialist for UCF teams that went 25-1 the past two seasons, the 6-foot, 179-pound Wright said he aims to add some strength and size before training camp.

    He’ll have a shot to unseat Boswell there and earn an NFL paycheck. If that doesn’t work out, though, aerospace engineering would seem to be quite the fallback career field.

    What’s crazy is that Wright isn’t even the lone player on the Steelers’ roster who had that as a major. He joins quarterback Josh Dobbs as prospective aerospace engineers.

    “I haven’t talked to (Dobbs),” Wright said with a sheepish smile. “If it comes up, it comes up. I’m not gonna (bring it up).”

  3. #23

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    Chris Boswell focused on “next kick,” not last year

    Posted by Josh Alper on May 28, 2019, 2:30 PM EDT

    Steelers kicker Chris Boswell has no interest in talking about 2018.

    The year ended with Boswell on injured reserve with a groin injury and the subject of negative fan reaction after missing seven field goals and five extra points over the course of the year. On Tuesday, Boswell said he wouldn’t discuss either of those things during a media session that also saw him brush off a question about what he feels went wrong for him last year.

    Boswell was willing to say that he appreciates that the Steelers have stuck with him and that he’s keeping his eyes on the future rather than the past.

    “I know I’ve gotta be better than last year, but I’m not even paying attention to last year,” Boswell said. “I’m focused on next kick. I’m focused on next Tuesday is my next team period. Just kinda going day by day, kick by kick.”

    The Steelers signed Matthew Wright as an undrafted free agent and he represents the only in-house competition for Boswell in Pittsburgh.
    Steeler teams featuring stat-driven, me-first, fantasy-football-darling diva types such as Antonio Brown & Le'Veon Bell won no championships.

    Super Bowl winning Steeler teams were built around a dynamic, in-your-face defense plus blue-collar, hard-hitting, no-nonsense football players on offense such as Hines Ward & Jerome Bettis.

    We don't want Juju & Conner to replace what we lost in Brown & Bell.

    We are counting on Juju & Conner to return us to the glory we once had with Hines & The Bus.

  4. #24

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    Steelers K Chris Boswell Not Changing Approach Or Blaming Injuries Following Poor 2018 Season

    By Dave Bryan
    Posted on May 28, 2019

    Pittsburgh Steelers kicker Chris Boswell took a lot of heat for seemingly attempting to avoid the media during the team’s first week of OTA practices. On Tuesday, however, Boswell made sure to have a long session with the media following the team’s first OTA practice of Week 2 and he answered a lot of different questions that mostly centered around what he think went wrong with him last season in regards to him having a very year kicking-wise.

    Boswell started off answering questions about if he’s changed anything related to his overall kicking process.

    “Just next kick,” Boswell said, according to audio from 93.7 The Fan. “I mean I know I gotta be better than last year, but I’m not even paying attention to last year. You know, I’m focused on next kick, I’m focused on next Tuesday, which is my next team period. I’m just kind of going day-by-day, kick-by-kick.”

    Bowell was then asked if he knows if his problems last season were more mental or technique related.

    “It’s a little bit of everything and you just got to get back to the basics and that’s why being here at OTAs for everybody is so important, Boswell said. “This is where you kind of like build that base work to lead you into the season, and by the season it just becomes muscle memory.”

    Even though Boswell ended the 2018 regular season on the team’s Reserve/Injured list after reportedly suffering a groin injury during warmups in Week 16, he let it be known on Tuesday that he’s not using that injury as any kind of excuse for his poor kicking performance throughout the year.

    “Oh, I’m not going to talk about injuries, that’s nothing to be even mentioned or brought up,” Boswell said. “I mean, I’m out there to do a job and I didn’t do that job to the best of my abilities. And that’s all it comes down to.”

    Boswell also let it be known on Tuesday that he has no plans on doing anything different this year when it comes to possibly changing his kicking style or approach.

    “No, I’m going to stick with what I did the last – going into my fourth year here,” Boswell said. “It didn’t work last year but I’m not just going to scratch everything.I’m here to do a job and I’m going to focus on that job and the next kick.”

    Boswell was later asked if he has good appreciation for what went wrong with his performance lat year ad why.

    “Yeah, I’ve got appreciation for everything,” Boswell said. “You know, just still being here is a blessing and just being in this sport and in this industry is a blessing in general. And as long as they’ll have me here, I’m just gonna keep kicking and swinging.”

    The Steelers did sign rookie undrafted free agent kicker Matthew Wright out of Central Florida to compete against Boswell this offseason . Boswell, however, still considers his only competition right now to be himself and not Wright.

    Yeah, we’ve always had somebody and I just approach it the same way,” Boswell said Tuesday. “I mean, no matter who’s out here, it’s me versus me, it’s not me versus anybody. And as long as I can conquer that, I should be pretty good.”

    Boswell seemingly had the $2 million roster bonus that was originally due him in March pushed back to a much later date in the summer and that means he’s certainly not guaranteed to be the Steelers kicker in 2019. You can bet the Steelers will try to put as much stress on Boswell throughout the remainder of the offseason and the preseason in an effort to make sure his poor 2018 season can be put behind him once and for all.

    In closing, Boswell said Tuesday he doesn’t pay any mind to several past great NFL kickers usually having a bad season or two during their careers as a reason why he thinks he’ll now likely be able to bounce back from his poor 2018 season.

    “I’m not going to seek comfort and look at that and be like, oh, everything’s fine with me. I’m going to be okay,” Boswell said. “I mean, I have to really get after it this offseason, like I have been, and show up here ready to kick and compete and just kinda take it from here on out. I’m not looking at any other kickers in their years. It’s just kind of, you know, what am I going to do to be better from here on out.”

    It’s good that Boswell now got this initial OTA media session behind him. In fact, there’s really no more questions for him to answer until well after training camp and the preseason gets underway. Will Boswell be able to bounce back from his poor 2018 season and continue to be the Steelers kicker for several years to come? That question is certainly tough to answer right now but it sounds like he’s doing his best to prove that 2018 was just a fluke. That includes using video to compare last year to his previous years.

    “Yeah, every year we look at the years past, what I do different compared to what I did last year, compared to what I did in my first game here,” Boswell said. “And there’s little things here and there, but I mean, we just got to make it go through the pipes.”

  5. #25

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    More Details On Steelers Pushing Back K Chris Boswell’s $2 Million Roster Bonus Due Date

    By Dave Bryan
    Posted on May 29, 2019

    Back in March we passed along the word that the Pittsburgh Steelers had seemingly worked out an agreement with kicker Chris Boswell that resulted in the $2 million roster bonus he was originally due to be paid just after the start of the new league being pushed back until much later in the summer. That report of ours seemed to fly under the radar as now many of the Steelers beat writers are treating the roster bonus date push back as new news.

    The only new news regarding Boswell’s roster bonus date push back is that we now know that it is indeed tied to him ultimately making the Steelers initial roster in early September and even that nugget isn’t overly surprising, all things considered. To be more specific, former NFL agent Joel Corry told me that the date tied to Boswell’s roster bonus is September 1, which is the date that teams need to have their active rosters trimmed down to 53 players by.

    According to late Tuesday night report by Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the Steelers told Boswell they would delay his $2 million March roster bonus till after the team’s final preseason game. Had Boswell not agreed to the Steelers’ request to push back the roster bonus due date, they would have cut him just after the start of the new league year in March and prior to the date he was due the $2 million.

    As previously passed along in March by us, had Boswell refused the Steelers request to delay his roster bonus due date and he was subsequently released before it was paid to him, the team would have incurred a dead money balance from his deleted contract of $4.8 million in 2019. However, with Boswell set to count $4.2 million against the team’s salary cap in 2019, the $600,000 difference would’ve been marginal amount to eat.

    Obviously, Boswell agreeing to have his roster bonus due date pushed back isn’t shocking and now he stands to lose $3 million in 2019 should he ultimately fail to win the kicking job this summer as he’s also due a $1 million base salary this year after signing a four-year extension last offseason.

    With June 1 now on the horizon, it’s obvious that Boswell will remain on the roster past that magic date. Once June 1 passes, a release of Boswell before his $2 million roster bonus is due would result in the Steelers incurring a dead money charge in 2019 of $1.2 million while saving $3 million in salary cap space this year prior to the kicker being displaced on the roster by another kicker, who would likely have just a minimum salary. A post June 1 release of Boswell would also result in the Steelers incurring a dead money charge in 2020 of $3.6 million.

    Curiously enough, Boswell’s extension that he signed last offseason not only included a $2 million roster bonus due him in March of this year, but also a $1 million roster bonus due him in March of 2020.

    Below is what the remaining years on Boswell’s contract looks like and we’ll now wait and see if he’s ultimately able to overcome his kicking problems from last season and ultimately earn not only a spot on this year’s 53-man roster, but $3 million in pay as well.

  6. #26

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    Chris Boswell: ‘Danny Smith’s Not The One Out There Kicking And Punting And Tackling’

    By Matthew Marczi
    Posted on May 29, 2019

    Any regular reader of our humble offerings here at Steelers Depot knows that our own Alex Kozora has a deep, unexplainable love of the Pittsburgh Steelers’ special teams coach, Danny Smith. So when he read what kicker Chris Boswell said of his position coach, I’m sure you can imagine how he felt about that.

    That’s right. Like he just got Chidi Iwuoma’s autograph.

    But I’m sure you can tell where this is going already. We all know the background. After making the Pro Bowl in 2017 with a fantastic year, Boswell was so incomprehensibly terrible last season that he very nearly lost his job before the regular season was over. He had to win his job against competitors the team brought in during the week late in the season.

    But he’s not going to be putting any of the blame on Smith. “I mean, Danny’s not the one out there kicking and punting and tackling”, he told Brian Batko of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette when he was asked about the position coach’s accountability in the failures of the special teams units last season.

    “He can only do so much, and he does a hell of a job with what he does”, the fourth-year kicker said. “It just comes down to us playing on the field, so Danny taking a lot of heat is, personally, not OK with me. Because I should take all that heat”.

    Smith was already an established name as a special teams coordinator long before Mike Tomlin hired him to join his coaching staff in Pittsburgh in 2013. He held the same post in Washington for nearly a decade, and prior to that was with the Buffalo Bills, among other destinations.

    Since coming in, the special teams units have certainly gotten more interesting. More plays have been made, but there have been more gaffes as well. How can you botch a safety kick twice in as many seasons, recording a safety and then failing to gain possession on the free kick that follows? That’s pretty stunning. But then there are the blocked punts and field goals, the return touchdowns, and…well, Boswell before 2018.

    And before Boswell, Smith had Shaun Suisham, who was only replaced because he suffered a career-ending torn ACL, which led to a parade of failures at kicker before hitting on Boswell himself four games into the 2016 season.

    His 2018 season became so bafflingly out of character that, at one point, the Steelers actually brought in Suisham to talk with Boswell, just kicker to kicker, to perhaps try to figure out what had been going wrong.

    Boswell said that he still talks to Suisham on occasion, but also doesn’t want to intrude and lean on him in his retirement. But if the former doesn’t get his act together this summer, he might be on his way toward retirement himself.

  7. #27

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    Pittsburgh Steelers 2019 Camp Battles: Chris Boswell vs. Matthew Wright

    We take a look at some of the more significant position battles that will be fought during minicamp, OTAs and training camp this offseason.

    By Simon Chester@SimonAChester Jun 5, 2019

    While it would be fair to say that the Pittsburgh Steelers 2019 roster looks to be set at several positions, there are still a handful of starting roles yet to be decided and a number of backup up jobs remain up for grabs.

    Over the coming weeks, BTSC editor Jeff Hartman and myself will take a look at some of the more obvious key names that will be fighting position battles throughout minicamp, OTAs and training camp later in the year, each taking a different side in the fight and providing our thoughts on why our pick will be the winner.

    So far we have weighed in on the impending battles between quarterbacks Joshua Dobbs and Mason Rudolph, running backs Jaylen Samuel and Benny Snell Jr. wide receivers James Washington and Donte Moncrief, tackles Matt Feiler and Chukwuma Okorafor, linebackers Devin Bush and Mark Barron, cornerbacks Mike Hilton and Cameron Sutton and slot receivers Eli Rogers and Ryan Switzer. Today we move onto the kickers.

    Chris Boswell vs. Matthew Wright

    If not for a report last week that confirmed the date of Chris Boswell’s roster bonuses had been deferred until after the Steelers last preseason game, the prospect of any genuine camp battle between the veteran kicker and Matthew Wright was highly debatable. But there can be little doubt that the coaching staff has been freed up to make the correct decision without worrying about the financial ramifications of the move.

    Assuming Boswell can regain the form that earned him a Pro Bowl berth in 2018, he will make short work of the competition, but the former crowd favorite was far from that standard last season. And given that releasing him will save now the team a total of $3 million in 2019, Boswell may yet find he has to go above and beyond this offseason to convince the team he is worth keeping over the much cheaper rookie.

    Jeff Hartman

    While Wright is a kicker playing with house money, Boswell is someone who has the experience necessary to right the ship. Fans have seen Boswell be too good for too long to watch him just go the way of the Dodo and lose his spot.

    2018 was bad. Period. But that doesn’t mean this will be the future for Boswell. Injury or not, I see Boswell having a bounce back season and earning his big contract which he was given prior to the 2018 season.

    Wright will push Boswell more so than other kickers who have spent time with the Steelers in camp, and this could be just what the doctor ordered for a kicker who might just need a little push to get him back on track.

    I like Boswell to rebound in a big way in 2019.

    Simon Chester

    Coming in with very little to lose, Wright ended his career at the the University of Central Florida as the all-time leader in points and recording a success rate of 78.1-percent on his field goals. And while this is far from an elite level by NFL standards, it is far better than the mark of 65-percent that Boswell achieved in 2018.

    How well each player performs in training will be just one aspect of the competition, but with live game situations limited and effectively impossible to replicate in practice, making the most of preseason opportunities will be vital for both men.

    If Boswell is still struggling with the issues that plagued him last year or fails to impress when called upon, it may not take too much to convince the coaching staff to go in a different direction. And if the battle is close during practice, just one or two missed kicks in one of the four preseason games could spell doom for either player. The kicker who handles this pressure best is likely to be the one who wins the job. But based on what we saw last year, it is hard to be overly confident in Boswell at this stage.

    My heart say to go with the incumbent, but my head says the Steelers will have a new kicker when the season begins. A name that might not yet be in Pittsburgh if the right option gets released elsewhere.

  8. #28

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    Tuesday, Jun 11, 2019 04:15 PM

    Early returns encouraging

    Mike Prisuta

    Kicker Chris Boswell maintained midway through OTAs he was “hitting the ball really well.”

    Special teams coordinator Danny Smith punctuated the opening of mandatory veteran minicamp today by concurring.

    “I agree with that, I really do,” Smith insisted this afternoon. “Obviously, we need an improvement there. He’s been very good in the OTAs. He’s been very good and it’s gotta carry into the team setting. We put him in team settings and he’s responded. We know what he’s capable of, that’s a positive.

    “We have to get back to what he was capable of and what he showed us and that’s where we’re headed and that’s what he’s done so far.”

    Boswell made 35 of 38 field goal attempts (92.1 percent) in 2017.

    Last season he was only able to convert 13 of 20 (65 percent) and also missed five extra points before winding up on the reserve/injured list for the Steelers’ regular-season finale against Cincinnati.

    Adjustments have been made, but Boswell didn’t want to discuss those during OTAs.

    That was a decision with which Smith, likewise, agreed.

    “It ain’t really out there for the public what he and I discuss, or ‘I saw this step,’ or ‘this foot,’ or ‘this swing,’ or this and that. It obviously was off, and it wasn’t acceptable. We’ve made corrections and we’ve worked hard at it together and I’ve seen a great deal of improvement.

    “I’m in the mindset he’s gotta be the guy we had two years ago, and right now it looks like that’s what we got. We’ll see when we get into the team settings.”

    Smith is of the opinion the answer to the Boswell question will reveal itself eventually, and that it will be obvious.

    “You’ll know it as well as I’ll know it,” Smith maintained to a small cluster of media following the first practice of minicamp. “We’ll see that together. When we get in those critical situations, you ain’t gonna have to ask me. You’re gonna know and I’m gonna know. He hits that game-winner like he did, he hits that long one like he did, he’s banging balls, you ain’t gonna come looking for me.

    “But once that son of a (gun) goes wide right and we’re off that field, 19-17, on the wrong end, you come looking for me. We’re gonna see that together. We’ll find out real quick.”

    Smith considers a bounce-back season for Boswell as conceivable as it is necessary.

    “If there’s a bounce back it happens quick,” Smith said. “Guys have had bad years, that’s in all sports. You take a Pirate, you take a Penguin, you take a Steeler, everybody has had bad years and yeah, they’re quite capable of bouncing back.

    “We’ll see that soon. If he’s gonna bounce back, he’s gonna make it. It ain’t gonna be 50-50. It ain’t gonna be part time. He’s either back or he ain’t, and we’ll handle that appropriately.

    “The key is to put him in those situations. The key is for him to get in a game and hit those game-winners like he’s capable and he’s done. He looks very good and I’m very pleased at where he’s at today, but today we ain’t winning games. We’ll see when we get in that game setting and, like I say, you’ll see it just as soon as I’ll see it.”
    Steeler teams featuring stat-driven, me-first, fantasy-football-darling diva types such as Antonio Brown & Le'Veon Bell won no championships.

    Super Bowl winning Steeler teams were built around a dynamic, in-your-face defense plus blue-collar, hard-hitting, no-nonsense football players on offense such as Hines Ward & Jerome Bettis.

    We don't want Juju & Conner to replace what we lost in Brown & Bell.

    We are counting on Juju & Conner to return us to the glory we once had with Hines & The Bus.


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