When free agency opened and the Seattle Seahawks quickly signed Pro Bowl kicker Jason Myers away from the New York Jets, many Seattle fans rejoiced at the thought of the team having a great kicker. Just weeks away from his 28th birthday, the Hawks were signing a kicker in his prime, as opposed to 2018 when Sebastian Janikowski was one of the oldest players in the NFL.
In addition, the career of Myers had not followed the trajectory of 2017 disaster Blair Walsh, who was an All Pro as a rookie in 2012. However, that All Pro season helped obscure the fact that Walsh had trouble kicking in colder weather, as his performance through his career showed. In his rookie season Walsh was 34 of 35 on field goal attempts in domes or warm weather while converting just one of three attempts in cold weather. For Seattle in 2017 he was 11 of 12 when the temperature at kickoff was 65 degrees or warmer and 10 of 17 when the temperature at kickoff was below 65.
So, why has Jason Myers suddenly begun to struggle after arriving in Seattle? Looking at the numbers, it turns out that it may not be that Myers has suddenly begun to struggle, as it may be more likely that he is kicking at levels consistent with most of his career and that his Pro Bowl 2018 season was the outlier. I’m not here to rehash Myers’ struggles on PATs, so we’ll just focus on his field goal kicking. I could write and write and write, but a picture is worth a thousand words, so we’ll jump straight to the graphics.
First, this is Myers’ field goal conversion rate by season.
So, basically Myers makes his next field goal attempt and all of a sudden he’s nine of twelve on the season and 2019 is nestled right in between 2016 and 2017, and slightly below 2015.
One of the big selling points for Myers, however, was the fact that he was six of seven from 50+ yards during the 2018 season. That conversion rate from that distance, however, was well, well, out of line with his prior seasons. Here is how he performed from 50+ during his career.
Now, having only attempted 26 field goals from more than 50 yards during his career prior to this season, those numbers are obviously volatile and subject to small sample variance. Thus, let’s expand the sample and look at how he’s done when attempting field goals from 40 or more yards.
And that’s basically it. Myers is making field goals at rate that is only slightly below his pre-2018 performance, and based on the evidence that we have, it seems more likely that 2018 is the outlier rather than 2019. In short, while his performance could improve in the coming weeks, don’t be surprised if the Jason Myers we’ve seen so far this season is the Jason Myers we see for the rest of the year.