"Kickers are like horse manure. They're all over the place."
-- Former Tampa Bay coach John McKay
"Football kickers are like taxi cabs. You can always go out and hire another one."
-- Former NFL coach Buddy Ryan (1986)
These terrific quotes about placekickers are appropriate today because we need to talk about Lawrence Tynes, the incredibly irritating and inconsistent kicker for our New York Giants.
The 21-yard field goal Tynes missed Sunday against Tampa Bay was the shortest miss by a Giants' kicker since Dec. 19, 1981, when Joe Danelo was unsuccessful from the same distance. It marks two weeks in a row Tynes has missed from inside 30 yards, and that is simply inexcusable in an age where top-flight NFL kickers are nearly automatic inside 40 yards.
Tom Coughlin flatly said "No" Monday when asked if the Giants would work out any potential replacement kickers this week in light of Tynes' recent struggles. He also said this about Tynes.
"I think sometimes what has to happen is as you practice then you have to carry it over into game day. Sometimes there is a little bit of an adjustment that – for whatever reason – is going on that you would like to just stick with what has been good for you and what you have practiced."
To be honest, I really don't know what Coughlin is talking about there. I think it's just a bunch of coach-speak' for 'this is a topic I really don't want to talk about.'
Fact is, though, Tynes' erratic right foot is something I think we -- and the Giants coaching staff -- need to talk about. As I write this (prior to the Monday Night game), 53 field goals have been attempted inside 30 yards thus far this season. Only two have been missed -- both by Tynes. Yikes!
When I think about Tynes I ... I ... I don't know what to think. I get a headache trying to figure him out.
He obviously does not lack for courage. His game-winning kick in Green Bay which sent the Giants to the Super Bowl two seasons ago tells you that. As does his game-winner in Dallas in Week 2, which he had to kick twice.
He has a good track record, having made 100-of-125 kicks (80%) in his six-year career. Inside 30 yards, by the way, this season's two misses give him just three (36-of-39) in his career.
His kickoffs are sometimes deep, booming ones. At other times, they are ugly bouncers. Sometimes, they are high, short ones that land at the 15.
A week ago I wrote this about Tynes. "Tynes is probably the perfect kicker for this team. An imperfect guy who drives you up the wall, but always seems to make the kick that counts."
Was I right? Was I nuts? Is Tynes a quality kicker just going through a bit of a rough stretch? Is he a terrible kicker the Giants are winning in spite of? I just don't know. He has, at times, made things more difficult for the Giants. He has never, that I can remember, gone all Jay Feely in Seattle and cost the Giants a game.
I guess the best question to ask would be, is there anyone else out there who is better?
If you want to go the way the Giants did last season and try to find the second coming of John Carney, the best choice might be long-time Baltimore Ravens kicker Matt Stover. An 18-year veteran, the 41-year-old Stover is out of work after kicking for the Ravens the past 13 seasons. He was 27-of-33 for Baltimore last season, including 23-of-24 inside 40 yards. I reached out to our friends at the Ravens blog 'Baltimore Beatdown,' for info on Stover. This is part of what I got from 'Beatdown.'
The problem I have w/ him is that outside of 40 yards he is far from accurate and has zero distance. ... Also Stover's issue is depth on kickoffs and carrying two kickers takes up a valuable roster spot that I'm not in favor of. I say keep Tynes over Stover.
So, unless you pretty much never want to make a field goal longer than 40 yards, and you want to see Carney-esque kickoffs, Stover might not be the best idea.
Matt Bryant? The ex-Giant was 33-of-38 for Tampa Bay last season with his only misses coming from outside 40 yards. He is just 33. Bryant, though, was the Giants' kicker in the infamous 'Trey Junkin Game' in 2003, and I just am not sure I could stomach having to think about that game every time the Giants line up for a field goal.
I also reached out to the other SB Nation football bloggers for names of young kickers who impressed them during camp before being released. I heard names like Graham Gano (Ravens), Dave Rayner (Redskins) and Shane Andrus (Colts).
None of these guys has enough of a track record that you can be sure they are any more trustworthy than Tynes.
Maybe the best thing we can do is hope Tynes gets his head straight and stops missing easy kicks that make everyone's lives that much harder -- and shorter.