Coming into the offseason, the positions of punter and kicker were big question marks for the Seattle Seahawks. Would the team swallow Jon Ryan’s giant cap hit? How would the team move on from the Blair Walsh project? As the preseason wraps up, the question of punter has a solid answer, but what should we think about place kicking heading into the regular season?
In a night where not much went right en route to a 30-19 loss to the Oakland Raiders, the Seahawks saw for the first time this preseason the nagging doubts of confidence in their kicker. Sebastian Janikowski had been perfect until this week, even making a field goal from beyond 50 yards during Week 3 of the preseason, before missing back-to-back extra point attempts.
Sebastian Janikowski miss 2. Week 4 preseason. Extra Point pic.twitter.com/FbRqYlJGx0— Sean Clement (@SeanFromSeabeck) August 31, 2018
Both attempts came towards the North end zone — winds were reported at 6 mph out of the Southwest. Given that distance and those relatively gentle winds,should we be concerned going into the season?
Before last night Janikowski had only missed more than one extra point in a season once, in his last year with Oakland in 2016. On a sample size of two missed kicks, I’m not ready to start freaking out, but it did make my eyebrow lurch upward as the second ball sailed left in the forth quarter.
It’s strange for Janikowski to miss multiple times, especially to the left. For a left footed kicker to miss to the left would mean, most likely, his foot was turned too far to the outside, but that’s such an unnatural thing to do in a kick that I can hardly believe he did it twice in a game.
Time will tell how worried Seattle’s fans should be, and whether the decision to not pursue a place kicker after the draft will be one the organization will regret.
The Michael Dickson show
Michael Dickson finished off his preseason with six punts against the Raiders. All told, Dickson punted 17 times this preseason, averaging 48.6 yards per punt, while pinning other teams inside the 20 one third of the time. Dickson averaged 4.6 seconds of hang time, which translates to a 1.05 seconds per 10 yards of punting.
Week 4 of the preseason saw Dickson's hang time decline a little bit, but it also seemed like the Seahawks were trying to put too much tape out there on different kinds of punts. For all that we heard about having nine different punts, the game against Oakland was fairly run of the mill. Which is an absurd thing to say when he still nails kicks like this:
Dickson punt 6: 37 yards, 3.95 seconds, out of bounds at the 3(ish) this is the first directional punt of the preseason to exit out of bounds to the left I believe. Showing Dickson can pin either side. pic.twitter.com/gPJODbfMpH— Sean Clement (@SeanFromSeabeck) August 31, 2018
An okay game by Dickson is still better than the best games of most other punters — what a good problem to have. With that being said, the preseason is over and from now on, the kicks are for keeps.
Let’s get excited for another year at Kicker Consideration.
Good luck to my Texas boys this week. Get that W pic.twitter.com/84QhZu3fQy— Michael Dickson (@mdcksn) August 31, 2018
Update: A previous version of this article listed 18 punts because the author can’t math good sometimes.