Admit it, you’ve at one time, or another criticized a kicker for missing a kick. Arguably, the majority of the time, we take kickers for granted. Be careful what you wish for though, as we’ve seen other teams immensely fail in this category of recent years. When you have a reliable kicker, you keep him. Having a kicker you can rely is a lot less stressful than having someone who might seldom get the job done.
Last year was a down year for Ryan Succop if you go purely by the fact that he only connected on 83% of his field goals attempted. I urge you to dig a little deeper on this one though. Last year 41 kickers attempted and made a kick last season in the NFL, no one attempted more kicks than Succop. Harrison Butker and Succop both attempted 42 field goals this season. This was a big test for Succop, whose previous high in attempts was 34 back in 2012. Succop made 35 of his 42 field goals, and 31 of his 33 extra points (one was blocked).
Succop has come a long way, arguably one of the best “Mr. Irrelevants” of all-time. Succop was the 256th draft pick in the 2009 NFL Draft. This season, Succop did most of his damage from 20-49 yards out. Succop was 10-10 on kicks from 20-29 yards out, 7-7 from 30-39 yards, 16-20 from 40-49 yards and 25 on 50+ yard field goals. Stemming from last year, Succop actually broke the NFL record for consecutive kicks made from less than 50 yards away. Succop made 56 consecutive field goals to break the previous record of 46 straight attempts by Matt Bryant. Succop missed on a 48-yard attempt against the Cincinnati Bengals in a 24-20 win to end his streak.
In week 7, Succop had arguably his most important performance at that point in the season. Going 4-5 on field goals, he accounted for every point the Titans scored in an overtime win at Cleveland. It was an ugly game played by the Titans, but Succop was almost perfect on the day. A clutch 47-yard field goal with just 1:55 left in overtime helped the Titans get back to above 500 on the season. Succop’s season did not go unnoticed by players. After he went 5-5 against Indianapolis, Taylor Lewan walked by Succop’s locker and called him a legend and an asset to the team.
Kickers in the NFL have very volatile jobs, there’s always another kicker the team is willing to give a shot. The Titans showed their confidence in Succop this offseason by extending him for five years, 20 million dollars with 7.5 million guaranteed. Since joining the Titans, Succop has made 90-104 field goals at an above average rate of 86.5%. He also set career highs with 136 points, and 35 made field goals last season. Succop would have been a free agent had he not signed the deal, so it’s evident that the Titans would prefer to not ride the kicker carousel this year. Succop earned himself a solid B+ for his performance last year. Look for him to bounce right back into the A range next season.