Starting Kicker: Tyler Bass
In a surprising development Tyler Bass takes over for the veteran Stephen Hauschka. While this comes as a shock for some fans, the writing has been on the wall.
In an interview with Pardon My Take, general manager Brandon Beane cited his preference for kickers making deep 55+ yard kicks over a kicker with potential better short accuracy:
"Mr. Commenter: I’ve got a question on the special teams side of the ball: If you are looking at kickers, would you rather have a guy who can hit 4-7 from 55+ yards, or a guy that can go 9-10, you know, 35 and in? Brandon Beane: I’d rather have the guy deep. If you were going to say…"
We know that Hauschka has struggled with his distance as he has aged, and hasn’t been asked to kick 55+ yard attempts because they are out of his range. Hauschka was just 1 for 5 on kicks over 50 yards which isn’t going to cut it.
During the playoff game versus the Texans with the Buffalo Bills down three with a 1:40 left in the game, McDermott opted to try and convert on 4th and 27 rather than have Hauschka try a 59 yarder for the tie. This is telling of how the Bills think about the veteran kicker’s leg.
Now the Buffalo Bills bring in Tyler Bass, who was regarded as having the biggest leg in the whole draft and could mean they are concerned about Hauschka’s diminishing power.
Playing in a small school in Georgia Southern, Bass wasn’t well known around many circles and also a subpar senior season didn’t help. While Bass was great in his junior season going 19 of 21 on his kicks, he would go 20 of 28 in his senior season for a underwhelming 71.4% field goals made percentage. Bass made is name known at the Senior Bowl, especially in practices where he was making kicks nobody else on the field could make.
Bass didn’t have many opportunities to show off his leg in college, only attempting 4 kicks over 50 yards, converting 2 of them. The rookie was seen making near 70 yard field goals while working out with his teammates Reid Ferguson and Kaare Vedvik.
Bass’s redeeming qualities in field goal kicking as well as his great kickoff ability should land him the starting job.