Why Chris Boswell Will Bounce Back

Reasons to be a Boz believer

Matt Koll
May 29, 2019 - 2:06 pm
Chris Boswell

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Oh boy.

This has a chance to be featured on Freezing Cold Takes.

But I believe Chris Boswell is going to turn it around in 2019.

Why?

It’s a little bit of a hunch and a little bit of reasoning.

When I look at Chris Boswell, last year’s disaster is a clear outlier to his entire career as a field goal kicker.

Boswell took over in 2015, playing in 12 games, hitting 29 of 32 field goal attempts for a 90.6% make percentage.

He followed that up by going 21 of 25 in 2016 and a perfect 36 of 36 in extra points. That’s notable because it was the first season the extra point attempts were moved back to the 15-yard line.

In 2017 Boswell was a Pro Bowl selection after hitting 92.1% of his field goal attempts.

My point here is that Boz has a track record.

Related: Boswell Putting Rough 2018 Behind Him

He isn’t some flash-in-the-pan guy who had a few good games in one season and then was terrible all of last year.

He is an established, professional kicker and he’s made some big kicks over the years as well.

You could argue that part of why the Steelers went 13-3 in 2017 was because every time Boswell was called upon to make a big kick, he delivered.

He hit game-winning field goals against the Colts, Packers, Bengals and Ravens that year.

All in the final seconds. All when they needed him most. All in high-pressure situations when the team and the city were counting on him.

In 2016 he literally scored all the Steelers points in a Divisional Round win over the Chiefs, going 6-for-6 in field goal attempts, including three 40+ yarders.

We’re not talking about a guy whose inexperienced, who may not be able to handle the bright lights and high stakes of the NFL.

He’s been there, done that.

It’s also not a situation where the game has caught up to him in any way. This isn’t a running back who is at or near his 30’s who has lost a step and the league is just too fast for him.

This isn’t even a lineman who can’t move as well anymore or can’t get off his block.

He’s a 28-year-old kicker for goodness sake. He hasn’t lost a step in his approach to kick a ball or lost leg whip speed.

So how the heck do you explain last year, then?

I think last year went sideways from the very beginning for Boswell.

That slopfest in Cleveland just got things off on the wrong foot, if you will. He missed a game-winning field goal attempt and a few more missed kicks later…he was in a dark place mentally.

I think kicker is one of those positions in sports where it’s so different and specific, so technique-oriented and almost monotonous that when you aren’t having success, it’s easier to let the negative compound in your head.

Much like a goalie in hockey or a pitcher in baseball or even a golfer. We’ve seen and heard those athletes get into mental funks in the past.

I think Boswell just needed last season to end.

To hit the restart button, get out of that miserable season and refresh himself.

To “unplug” as Clint Hurdle likes to call it.

Boswell also missed Week 17 with an “injury.” Real or not, I think the way the season ended was enormous wake up call that he could lose his job in this league and he can’t get too comfortable. I think that benefits him in the end.

I like what he said from OTA’s on Tuesday in that he really didn’t change much, just went back to the basics and back to work on his own.

If that’s what he knows, then he should go back to that. It led to a successful NFL career before last season.

I don’t know, maybe I’ll be wrong about this whole thing.

Maybe it wasn’t just a snowball effect from missing a few kicks early in the year that led to his struggles.

Maybe Boswell just completely lost it and will never find it again and never be the same guy.

If I’m being honest, I think the beginning of the season is going to be crucial for him. If he gets out of training camp and the preseason with the job, which I would think he has a pretty fair shot at doing, considering his contract despite the restructuring he just did to it, it would help him greatly to see a few go through the uprights to start the season.

If he misses field goals early on again this year, who knows what might happen. Things could go off the rails again.

But I trust that as an NFL veteran, he’ll make the necessary adjustments, come in with a clear head and be who he was before the outlier 2018 season.

For the Steelers sake, I really hope I’m not wrong. For my sake, Colin Dunlap and Chris Mack of The Fan Morning Show owe me $200 in Giant Eagle gift cards if Boswell's field goal percentage is in the 90's after Week 8. 

I’m a Boz believer.

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