The Buffalo Bills special teams coordinator recently said the starting kicker job is Stephen Hauschka’s and it is his to lose.
During the 2020 NFL Draft, the Buffalo Bills raised some eyebrows with the selection of Tyler Bass in the sixth round. The thought was that Bass was drafted to be the replacement for Stephen Hauschka as the starting placekicker.
While that may end up being the case, special teams coordinator Heath Farwell made it known that Bass will have to earn his spot and beat out the veteran because right now it is Stephen Hauschka‘s job to lose.
Hauschka has been the Bills starting kicker since 2017 when he joined the team as a free agent. He had a great first season, connecting on nearly 88% of his field goal attempts and was perfect on extra points. However, the accuracy has started to slip the past two years as he has dropped down to 79% on field goal attempts over the past two years.
He struggled specifically on longer field goals, connecting on one of five field goal attempts over 50 yards this past year. This slow decline is one of the reasons that it wasn’t completely shocking the Bills decided to select Bass a few months ago.
While Farwell talked about the talent that Tyler Bass is and what he brings to the Bills, he made it a point that this is an open competition. This is not a situation where the rookie is going to be given the job, or even should be considered the favorite at this point. Farwell made a note that Hauschka is the veteran, he is the incumbent, and he is going to have to lose the job and be beaten out by Bass.
Even with the decline in performance, this isn’t too big of a surprise. Hauschka has been the Bills starting kicker for three years now and at a position like placekicker, where experience is almost as important as talent, the veteran should have the inside track for the job.
However, Tyler Bass is a player with tremendous leg strength and it is going to be interesting position battle to watch leading up to the 2020 season.