Heading into the bye week, a lot of fans and media members expected the Atlanta Falcons to part ways with head coach Dan Quinn. At the trade deadline Tuesday, Falcons fans were hopeful the team would find a trade partner to deal struggling pass rusher Vic Beasley.
Both remain with the Falcons organization. As for kicker Matt Bryant, Atlanta has cut him for the second time this year. As first reported by Evan Birchfield at Falcoholic, the Falcons cut the 44-year-old kicker on Tuesday.
The Falcons announced Tuesday they have signed Younghoe Koo to be the team's new kicker.
Bryant missed a pair of field goals in a 27-20 loss to the Seahawks on Sunday. Both were from beyond 50 yards, which has been a distance giving the kicker problems this year. Bryant has only hit 2 of 6 from beyond 50 this year.
He also missed an extra point that would have likely forced overtime against the Cardinals in Week 6. Atlanta lost that contest, 34-33.
One could easily blame Bryant for those misses, but the Falcons have completely botched their kicker situation since the start of the offseason. To save money, the Falcons released Bryant and signed Giorgio Tavecchio, who went 5-for-5 on field goals in three games last year with the Falcons when Bryant was hurt.
Tavecchio was cheaper but three games is too small of a sample to simply hand the 29-year-old the job. The Falcons should have held an open kicker competition like a lot of teams successfully did this past summer. Any kicker that won the job out of training camp would have been cheap too.
Instead, Tavecchio lost the job in the preseason because of his struggles, and without any other better last-minute options, the Falcons had to give Bryant a raise to come out of retirement.
Failing to hold an open competition meant the Falcons were depending upon a 44-year-old kicker who didn't go through real offseason workouts -- at least not on a football field in an NFL training camp.
Maybe Bryant's misses from beyond 50 are simply the result of an aging leg, but we'll never know what type of impact missing training camp and most of the preseason had on Bryant, who now likely ends his NFL career with a field-goal kicking percentage above 85% -- 13th best in NFL history.