Steelers Urged to Consider Competition for K Chris Boswell

Chris Boswell

Getty Pittsburgh Steelers kicker Chris Boswell has struggled during the 2022 season.

Chris Boswell has often been considered one of the best kickers in the NFL during his 8-year career. But he’s also experienced some awful seasons.

Pittsburgh Steelers fans can put Boswell’s 2022 campaign in the awful category. He’s made just 18 of 26 field goal attempts. Among kickers with more than 5 attempts, Boswell has a league-low 69.2% field-goal percentage.

In light of his subpar season, The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Ray Fittipaldo advocated for the Steelers to bring in kicking competition for Boswell next season.

“They probably will,” Fittipaldo wrote when answering a question from a fan in a mailbag about potential competition for Boswell. “He bounced back after his bad 2018. Maybe he can bounce back again. But maybe he needs to be pushed too.”

Boswell owns a career 86.2% field-goal percentage, but he’s posted a field-goal percentage below 70% in two of the last five seasons.

Boswell Still Dealing With an Injury?

There’s one easy explanation for why Boswell hasn’t been his usual 90% or better on field goals-self this season — his injury.

Boswell missed five games, spending time on injured reserve, in the middle of the season because of a groin injury.

Upon his return in Week 14, the 31-year-old kicker made 7 of his 8 kicks overall, with his only miss being a block. But over the past two weeks, he’s really struggled, going 5-for-8 on field-goal tries.

He missed two long attempts in the cold weather on Christmas Eve in Pittsburgh against the Las Vegas Raiders. Boswell made 3 field goals in Week 17, but he also missed a 48-yard try.

It’s definitely possible that the veteran kicker’s groin was a factor in those misses. That could also be the reason Boswell hasn’t been able to kick the ball out of the end zone on kickoffs much lately. His touchback percentage on kickoffs this season is 45.5%, which is his lowest since 2019.

“I think they’d like to kick to the end zone every time, but Boswell hasn’t been able to accomplish that either due to the weather or his injury,” wrote Fittipaldo.

Boswell Bounced Back From Poor 2018 Season

Given his poor season, bringing in kicking competition for Boswell would be appropriate. But it’s also premature to say he won’t bounce back in 2023.

Boswell made a career-low 65.0% of his field goals in 2018. He also hit just 89.6% of his extra points that season.

But the Steelers stuck by Boswell in 2019, and he rewarded the team with only 2 misses, going 29-for-31 that fall. One of those two misses was from beyond 50 yards, and he hit all of his extra points.

The good news for Boswell is he’s made all his extra points through Week 17 in 2022. But he’s really struggled on field goals.

From 40 yards or longer, Boswell holds just a 61.1% success rate. Interestingly, he’s 7-for-9 from 49-plus, but from the 40-49 yard range, the veteran kicker has gone 4-for-9.

He did miss four games, but if Boswell finishes the regular season with only 4 makes from the 40-49 yard range, that will be his fewest field goals from that distance in a season.

Some of those misses have come in windy and cold weather, but kicking in poor conditions shouldn’t be anything new for Boswell, who has spent his entire career in the AFC North.

No, Boswell’s struggles go beyond the weather, and while competition for him isn’t a bad idea, another bounce back in 2023 is certainly not out of the question.

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