Yesterday, the Baltimore Ravens cut kicker Steven Hauschka. Hauschka was handed the starting place kicker job during the off-season after Ravens management decided not to re-sign longtime, legendary kicker Matt Stover who, like Adam Vinatieri, has made a career making big, money, clutch field goals.
Gee, you think Ravens football guru Ossie Newsome regrets that stupid decision?
Prior to getting cut, Hauschka was hitting only 3-5 field goals between 40 and 49 yards and had missed two FGs from less than 39 yards. Against the Cleveland Browns Monday night, Hauschka missed a gimme FG from 36 yards out. Apparently, that's was all Newsome needed to see.
Stover, meanwhile, has found a temporary home with the team that used to play in Baltimore, the Colts. With fellow legend Adam Vinatieri on the shelf for a while recovering from surgery, Stover has come in and been his usual, automatic self. He is 6-6 on FG attempts, hitting all four tries in the 30 to 39 yard range. While sTover likely does not have the leg power to blast a 53-yarder through the uprights, he does do what every good kicker is paid very handsomely to do: Make the gimme FGs.
This is why, for my money, kickers with "big legs" are over-rated. Give me the clutch kickers any day; the guys who make the FGs when the game is on the line. Sure, even the great ones miss one or two here and there, but more often than not they are the ones who propel your team to wins by hitting the big money FG.
Guys like Stover and Vinatieri have made their careers doing that. This weekend, the Colts and Stover will return "home" to Baltimore. Hopefully, he can provide the Ravens with even more regret for letting him walk away from their franchise.