After missing a 26-yard field goal on Sunday night, and then running off a laundry list of excuses and calling out everyone from the Heinz Field turf, to the media, to the fans, Jeff Reed’s place as the Steelers kicker seems to be in jeopardy. ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported Monday afternoon, via Twitter, that the Steelers are considering cutting Reed and will be bringing in kickers on Tuesday for workouts.
I have only one thing to say…
Following Sunday’s game, Reed, who currently has the worst field goal percentage in the NFL this season, as well as being just 2-for-8 beyond 40 yards, said he’s not one to make excuses, then promptly blamed the turf for missing what was a glorified extra point.
Said Reed: “I’m not one to make excuses. I’ll take the credit for the miss. It was a great snap, a great hold, great protection. It’s kind of hard when you plant your foot and the hole — a piece of ground moves where the ball’s under the holder. I almost missed the ball completely. I’m not going to make excuses. If you’ve played any kind of sports in your life, you realize that what we play on is not very good turf. It happens.”
And this all goes back to the argument I’ve been making all season: the justification for keeping Reed is that he’s a great kicker at Heinz Field, can make kicks in a tough environment and is money when the game is on the line. None of that has been taking place this season, and now, the turf is suddenly an issue (and I’m not going to pretend the Heinz Field playing surface is any great shakes, but Shayne Graham, a player that was picked up off the street by the Patriots, made a longer kick on the same turf on the same side of the field.)
As if that wasn’t enough, he continued, via Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post Gazette:
“Not at all, man. Some big kicks, I’ve missed some important kicks. It’s sports. It’s not an excuse, but it’s life. You can’t sit here and say, man, you’ve been an 85 percent here and there and now you’re whatever percentage. I’ve lost track. It hurts me that I don’t help this team get points. But percentages are way overrated, and on a night like tonight when I felt great, kicked off well, did everything I was supposed to do and you miss a 20-something yard field goal, everyone wants to focus on that in a game like this.”
And then he turned his attention toward the fans, who he claims only purchase tickets to yell at him, Daniel Sepulveda, and long-snapper Greg Warren (seriously)…
“If you’re not perfect in this city, man, then you’re going to hear about it. It’s been like that for nine years, and why would they stop now? Like I said there’s 95 percent of those fans that got my back totally and then 5 percent you always hear. They’re right by the kicking net, they were bashing me, but that’s life, man, you got to move on. The worst thing for me to do would be to fight back at them.They started before the game even started. You know, like I said, they buy tickets just to bash me and Dan [Sepulveda] and Greg [Warren]. It’s more me because points come off my foot.”
This is all a perfect illustration as to why it’s easy for fans to pile on Reed. After complaining about his contract during the offseason, he comes out this season and has by far the worst campaign of his career, and instead of being accountable for his play, comes up with excuses and blames everything but himself.
Nobody is going to sit here and pretend that Reed’s miss on Sunday night is the reason the Steelers lost. Because it’s not. On the list of reasons it’s probably not even cracking the top 10. And while he’s not the biggest weakness on the team, he is certainly ONE of the weaknesses, and as I wrote following Monday’s game in Cincinnati, he is the one weakness that might be able to be upgraded during the season. The Steelers aren’t going to find better offensive tackles or cornerbacks than what they currently have on their roster right now, but they might be able to find a better kicker. And here’s hoping they do.