JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – If you poll enough Mom's on soccer pitches on any given Saturday, you find that it's no fun being the goalies Mom. Too much pressure, too many things can happen in front of you that give you no chance of making a save. Imagine being the kickers Mom this week in the NFL. Imagine being Jason Myers' mom. Impossible.
So while kickers are paid to make kicks, the pressure is enormous when your teammates have played an entire game and it comes down to one swing of your leg for the win. And when it doesn't happen, all fingers are pointed at you.
After missing some kicks on a Thursday night game, Josh Scobee heard it from all over the country and eventually was released by the Steelers. Jason Myers missed a couple of game winners for the Jaguars Sunday, but head coach Gus Bradley is sticking with him. In fact, he's not even going to entertain the thought of looking elsewhere.
"I don't think so," he said when asked if he'll look at some other kickers. "If it happened repeatedly where it was game after game. It's actually three misses to be honest with you because the one was a timeout. He's got to learn from it. We'll see how it works out but I do believe in him. I like his mentality. That's one of the big reasons why we went with him and we'll stick with that part of it."
Myers was given a big task at the beginning of the year when the Jaguars sent Scobee, a popular 11-year veteran, to the Steelers for a sixth round pick. Myers was in the Arena League a year ago and kicked at Marist while in college. Jaguars scouts saw him at a kicking camp and liked his leg and his mentality, so they gave him a shot. When he performed during the preseason, they deemed Scobee expendable.
Bradley said they expected some misses. "I think when we first signed Jason and we made that decision we knew that there was going to be some waves I think that we were going to have to go through. I like his mentality, we're very confident in him and he had an unfortunate day."
"Unfortunate day" for a kicker is usually disastrous for his team. It means he missed and his team lost. Other players make mistakes and while they know it and it shows up on video during the game review, it's usually not on display for all to see. With kickers, it's either do, or not do.
"He's no different (than other players)," according to Bradley. "But as far as his mentality and his competitiveness and his demeanor we just have great faith in him. Everybody saw it. I think we just have faith in his demeanor, what he's all about."
Bradley said he didn't talk with Myers on the field before or after either kick. But in the locker room he told him to "Stay strong. It's what your demeanor and mentality are all about. You utilize that trait that you have.' He really is strong-minded. It didn't show in those last two kicks, but he really is. His demeanor and his mentality are what you're looking for."
So while the Head Coach spent a good part of his Monday game review defending his kicker, he still knows that young players will make mistakes, kickers included.
"I think you come to know that the game is not going to be perfect, there's going to be mistakes and then you learn how to deal with them from there. But when it's at critical times like this in heightened environments, that's when you hope that kickers come through. He's young. Sometimes it takes some time for these guys to learn that part, but hopefully not too much time."
I guess the question is, how much is too much? For Myers? For Bradley?