The Tennessee Titans enter the 2020 season with few uncertainties on their roster. But the biggest one they have can cost them points – and sometimes games.
A consistent kicker is arguably their biggest need.
They had one in Ryan Succop, who was the franchise’s leader in career field goal percentage prior to last season. Then his recovery from offseason knee surgery led to two stints on injured reserve and a revolving door of kickers and a whole bunch of missed kicks.
General manager Jon Robinson said last week that it’s possible the Titans have not seen the last of Succop.
“Had a great meeting with him when we decided to release him there [in March] and just told him to get healthy,” Robinson said during a press conference Thursday. “Certainly, we were not closing the door on maybe potentially looking at him again.”
Succop played five full seasons with the Titans during which made 86 percent of his field goal attempts (116-134) and only missed seven times from inside 50 yards. He also made all but 11 of his extra-point tries.
He was active throughout last year’s training camp and the preseason but went on injured reserve days before the opener because he determined he didn’t yet have “that pop” in his kicking leg following offseason surgery.
Cairo Santos was signed to fill his spot. In Week 5 against Buffalo, Santos missed four field goals in a 14-7 loss.
The Titans released him the next day and signed Cody Parkey. Less than a year removed from a missed kick in the 2018 playoffs, which cost the Chicago Bears a chance to beat the Philadelphia Eagles in the divisional round, Parkey showed promise. In three games, he made all three of his field goal attempts and missed just one extra-point attempt in six tries.
Parkey was released at the start of November when Succop was activated from injured reserve. But Succop missed three field goals in his season debut and five of six overall in six games before he was returned to injured reserve.
Enter Greg Joseph, who eventually finished the season as the Titans kicker. Joseph made all 18 of his extra-point attempts (nine in the regular season, nine more in the playoffs), but only tried one field goal, which he made in the AFC Championship at Kansas City.
Joseph, who played just five games last season, enters training camp as the presumed No. 1 option at the position. However, the Titans did sign undrafted free agent Tucker McCann out of Missouri, but warrants are still very much out on both players, especially McCann.
“(Joseph) did a great job for us down the stretch, and [we are] looking forward to getting him back in here and letting him bang away and put a foot on the ball,” Robinson said. “Really, every position we’re continuing to monitor and look at ways that we can put a team out there to hopefully win two more games than we did last year.”
Apparently, he is even willing to look back, if need be.