For many Kansas City Chiefs fans, the unpredictability in the kicking game has long been part of the team’s track record — sometimes with infamously heartbreaking results. It’s fair to say, however, that the developments in Sunday’s 44-21 win over the Arizona Cardinals were unprecedented.
Chiefs kicker Harrison Butker left the game after rolling his ankle on a first quarter kickoff. Safety Justin Reid then went one for two on extra run attempts after the team’s next two touchdowns. A visibly hobbled Butker then came back to kick a 54-yard field goal at the end of the half – while taking just one step towards the kick. Butker would give up an additional three points, while Reid would continue to manage kickoffs for the duration.
Chiefs assistant head coach and special teams coordinator Dave Toub revealed that in any context, he had never seen Butker land a kick like the one that closed the first half.
“I had never seen him do 54 yards in one step,” he marvels. ” I’ve never seen that. I’ve seen him kick 30 yards just to warm up – and after that he goes back to his normal steps.
Although he admitted that having a kicker able to get a field goal so quickly could provide a competitive advantage, Toub said he didn’t expect Butker to continue with the one-step move.
“I don’t think it would be normal for him, just because he would feel like he was losing so much power,” Toub speculated. “Power is important to him — and it’s important to us. You don’t want to have too many different techniques. [But] there is something to be said for how he was able to adapt. That says a lot about his professionalism, that’s for sure.
Toub was impressed with Reid’s performance in a pinch – but we shouldn’t expect the team to be too aggressive with the league’s first safety/kicker hybrid. Toub said that during the game he gave head coach Andy Reid an estimate of the safety’s goal range.
“I told Andy during the game that if we were going to continue with him,” he recalled, “I thought if we had the ball on the 25-yard line we would be good with him. Which would be about 43 yards.
According to Toub, Justin Reid was never a candidate to attempt the field goal late in the half.
“There was no thought in hitting him this long,” he clarified. “If we didn’t have Butker at that time – if we didn’t think we had Butker – we probably would have just gone for that. I think that was a bit too far out of his reach there, realistically. .
While the Chiefs have a firm boundary to trust the unexpected backstop, Toub is still impressed with the veteran safety’s talent.
“He played football when he was younger,” explained the coach. “So he understands the movement of it and where the ball is supposed to be on his foot. Growing up, I’m sure – as a football player and a football player – he started playing football at a young age and he’s got talent.
“We heard that when we first got him – but then we walked out he kept pestering me about wanting to hit them in training. When I looked at him, I was like, ‘Wow, he’s got a lot of talent.’ It’s real, and he did it. It’s amazing, but it’s also impressive.
In Sunday’s game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Cincinnati Bengals lost snapper Clark Harris to injury — and without him in overtime, the Bengals missed several chances to win with a field goal before ultimately losing the game. If the Chiefs find themselves in such an emergency, Toub has one player in mind: tight end Travis Kelce
“That’s why you do this stuff,” Toub observed, “so you don’t flinch when something goes wrong. You pitch a guy – and you expect him to play at a high level. [Justin Reid] did such a good job for us to jump in there. He was definitely our special teams player of the week.
Butker’s status for Thursday’s game against the Los Angeles Chargers remains to be seen. Monday valued injury report, he received an announcementid-not-practical designation. The Chiefs signed former New York Jets kicker Matt Ammendola to the practice squad on Monday.
Still, Toub wants Butker back as soon as possible — and continues to say he’s a special talent who’s comparable to the kicker widely considered the league’s best: Justin Tucker of the Baltimore Ravens.
“He is there neck and neck with [Tucker], in my opinion – but I’m a little biased,” he admitted. “His work ethic and everything about Butker is top notch. So I would put it in there. They’re one and two right there – those two, of course.
#Dave #Toub #hes #kick #Harrison #Butker #Sunday