While the Pittsburgh Steelers decision to move back the due date of Chris Boswell’s 2019 roster bonus until after the final preseason game of the year was a clear sign of the doubts they have about their Pro Bowl kicker, it would appear that not everyone in the organization has lost faith in him.
Indeed, in light of the comments of his special teams coach during mandatory minicamp reported by Ray Fittipaldo of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, there is every chance that Boswell would already have received his $2 million roster bonus this offseason had the financial decisions been left up to Danny Smith.
“I don’t want to go into last year. That’s not for the public, what we discuss. It obviously was off, and it wasn’t acceptable. We’ve made corrections, and we’ve worked hard at it together. I’ve seen a great deal of improvement. I’m of the mindset that he’s the guy we had two years ago. Right now, that seems like what we got. We’ll see when we get into the team settings.”
Considering that Smith seemed unaware that anything was off with Boswell last year until the season began, it would be understandable if fans were less than confident in his current evaluation of his kicker at this point in the offseason. However, it appears that just 10 days of OTAs and three days of minicamp have been more than enough to significantly impact how Smith feels about his kicker after a disastrous season.
“Obviously, we need an improvement there. He’s been very good in the OTAs. It has to carry over into the team settings. We put him in team settings, and he’s responded. We know what he’s capable of, and that’s a positive. We have to get back to what he was capable of. That’s where we’re headed.”
Stopping short of naming him the starting kicker before training camp has even begun, it seems that Matthew Wright will need to go above and beyond if he is to convince Smith he is the right man for the job this season.
“You’ll know it when I know it. We’ll see that together. When we get in those critical situations, you’re not going to have to ask me. You’re going to know, and I’m going to know. If he hits that game-winner like he did, he hits those long ones like he did, if he’s banging balls, you’re not going to come looking for me. But once that [ball] goes wide right, and we lose 19-17, you come looking for me.”
But if turns out the Steelers made a mistake in keeping Boswell over Wright once the real games begin, some might suggest that the kicker should not be the only one being shown the door.