Buffalo Bills: Is Rex Ryan overreacting to kicking situation?


Despite Dan Carpenter’s struggles this preseason, is Rex Ryan’s concern about the Buffalo Bills kicking situation justified?

Rex Ryan was not a happy man after the Buffalo Bills 17-10 loss, in their final preseason game against the Detroit Lions. The main source of the head coach’s annoyance, was Dan Carpenter.

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The Bills kicker missed a 40-yard field goal, after hitting the right upright. It represented his third field goal miss of the preseason, to go along with a failed extra point conversion. (And keep in mind that extra points are no longer the “gimmes” they were in previous seasons.)

To listen to Ryan, Carpenter now finds himself in a precarious situation. As Ryan told WGR 550 and the rest of the media: “Hell, we can’t make a field goal, so we better be looking for any guy who has ever kicked a football in his life.

“They will get an opportunity here – I’m tired of missing field goals.  We have a kickoff guy and we miss field goals…I’m very disappointed in that, and I don’t care who knows it.”

If I’m honest, I believe the 52-year old former Baltimore Ravens defensive coordinator is overreacting. In fact, I wonder if his frustration goes deeper, with the kicking situation representing an avenue (excuse) for him to rant.

Aug 20, 2015; Cleveland, OH, USA; Buffalo Bills kicker Dan Carpenter (2) at FirstEnergy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Yes, Carpenter has struggled, but none of his misses have affected the outcome of any games (not that wins matter anyway during the preseason). This is not to excuse his performances, but let’s wait until the real action begins, before condemning the 2009 pro bowler.

Besides, let’s not forget that Carpenter spent the early part of training camp dealing with a hamstring injury. It’s possible this has compromised his play – certainly, there aren’t many worse injuries a kicker can get.

Ryan said that nobody is going to get the kicking job by default, but that’s unfair. His kicker has been money since arriving in Buffalo.

In two seasons with the Bills, Carpenter has missed just seven of 74 field goal attempts. Just last year he set a career-high, with 133 points.

On top of this, the guy has range. In 2014, the Omaha, Nebraska native equaled his career-best, with eight field goals of 50+ yards, including a 58-yarder. (His career-long is 60 yards.)

You have to wonder if Ryan has a similar mentality to his dad, Buddy, who had no qualms about replacing kickers. However, no matter what head coaches may want to believe, they aren’t exactly a dime a dozen – who is out there right now, that would represent a decent alternative?

Don’t get me wrong – if Carpenter’s struggles continue into the season, the Bills have every right to look elsewhere. For now though, the five-time AFC special teams Player of the Week has earned the benefit of the doubt.

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