With 5 days to go until the start of training camp for the Pittsburgh Steelers, we continue our 30 predictions in 30 days series with another bold claim for 2019.
Alternating daily between myself and BTSC Editor Jeff Hartman, we will offer our forecasts for the upcoming season. Some will be team oriented, while others will be specific to individual players. Posing an argument for and against our predictions, we invite you to weigh in on the debate as well.
Following on from my last claim that the Steelers will beat the Cleveland Browns twice in 2019, I turn my attention toward the Steelers special teams unit.
Prediction: Kicker Chris Boswell will makes at least 85 percent of his field goals in 2019.
Why it will happen: While there can be no argument that the 2018 season was something of a disaster for Chris Boswell, his performances during his first three years in the league prove what he is capable of. The question now remains whether last season was merely an anomaly or an experience that has irreparably damage him going forward.
No one but the kicker and the coaching staff know for sure if it was his mechanics or his mind that failed him last year, but Boswell appeared to suggest that it was a bit of both when talking to reporters this offseason. And while fixing his mechanics seems very achievable, repairing his confidence might take more time.
Chris Boswell speaks about focusing on his next kick, his approach to the 2019 season and more following today's OTA. pic.twitter.com/fM8bxSYpI0— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) May 28, 2019
Successful on 92.1 percent of his field goals in 2017, 84 percent in 201 6 and 90.6 percent in 2015, if Boswell can put the 2018 season behind him and revert to this Pro Bowl for of the year before, making at least 85 percent of his kicks in 2019 is a realistic target.
And while Boswell was not willing to use the groin tear that ended his season prematurely as an excuse, it is clear there were medical reasons for his struggles later in the year. Assuming he is now fully recovered, there is ever reason to expect him to be more accurate this season if accompanied by the right mindset.
Why it won’t happen: NFL history is littered with the names of kickers who have briefly enjoyed success, only to wash out a few years later. The fact that the Steelers delayed payment of his roster bonus until after the final preseason game an obvious indicator of their concerns about his ability to bounce back.
If Boswell was feeling the heat from the media and the fans in 2018 as the misses started to pile up, the criticism is likely to be even more intense this season. For a position that relies on confidence perhaps more than any other, a few missed kicks early on in the season could quickly make the pressure on Boswell unbearable.
And should he be unable to convince the coaching staff to trust him after training camp, there is every chance Boswell might not even make it to a fourth season in Pittsburgh to begin with.
What are your thoughts on this prediction? Do you think it will happen? Or are we crazy? Let us know by voting in the poll, and letting your voice be heard in the comment section below!
Will kicker Chris Boswell makes at least 85 percent of his field goals in 2019?
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