Jim Breech cemented his mark in Bengals’ history as the franchise’s best kicker, finishing his career with 1,151 points, which is the most in team history.
Life as a kicker is not easy. You're a hero when you make the kick. You're also in danger of losing your job after a miss or two.
Breech credits his mental toughness and routine for the successes he had throughout his career.
“The only thing I can control was the kick,” Breech told AllBengals. “In practice you do the same thing over and over and over again, so when you go out there for a kick in the first quarter or a kick to win the game it feels the same and you don’t think about the outcome. If you start worrying about whether you make it or worrying about whether you miss it, you’re going to miss it more often than you make it. ”
The Cincinnati legend hopes fifth round pick Evan McPherson can solidify the position for the Bengals with the recent struggles the team has faced at kicker.
Breech spoke with former Bengals kicker and current Florida special teams quality control coach Shayne Graham about McPherson. Graham raved about the newest member of the Cincinnati kicking fraternity.
The mental aspect is a big part of the game, but it didn't take long for Breech to notice McPherson's physical traits.
"He's very gifted. You see the height he gets on the ball," Breech said. "Very consistent on his swing. I don't know that I'd compare him to anybody, but I think he's going to do really, really well. I'm excited for him."
A reliable kicker is a game changer, especially for teams that struggle to score points consistently. Since 2018, the Bengals have left 46 points on the field due to missed kicks (14 field goals and four extra points). Seven of those games [with a missed kick] were one score losses.
Breech played for the team from 1980-1992. He was a member of the great Cincinnati teams from the 80’s and suited up with some of the best to ever wear stripes. He knows what it takes to build a winning team and believes the team took the right approach in the 2021 NFL Draft
“The Bengals talent-wise, their first-teams can really hold-up against anybody," Breech said. The problem has come when there are depth problems. I think they tried to alleviate that by going to the lines and bulking up on both sides of the ball.”
Breech trusts what Zac Taylor and company are housing in Cincinnati. He is even more impressed by Joe Burrow's leadership ability.
Players want to be around and be teammates with the 24-year-old star quarterback.
With the personnel the Bengals have added this offseason, along with the unveiling of new uniforms and announcement of a Ring of Honor, Breech sees plenty of reasons to be optimistic heading into next season.
The California native has been in Cincinnati for almost 40 years. He has been involved in Bengals and community events for many years. Breech knows how much the Ring of Honor means to the past players and the fans.
Breech was one of 17 nominees named on the Bengals' inaugural ballot for the Ring of Honor.
“Very honored and very humbled,” Breech said. "To be a part of it and be in that first nominating group is pretty amazing. It's very humbling."
Breech is relieved that players like Ken Anderson, Ken Riley, Willie Anderson, Corey Dillon, and more are finally getting their due and being recognized for their achievements. He hopes this paves the way for their names to be enshrined in Canton.
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