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Steelers Hoping Josh Scobee will mark end of Kicker Woes


If forced to pick one starter to go down with injury during a typical NFL preseason, most franchises might just select their starting kicker.

The position, while still a crucial part of the game, has become incredibly bloated with near-automatic kickers, so much so that the extra point was pushed back 20 yards this season to somewhat accommodate the skill imbalance.

Even so, the Pittsburgh Steelers can’t be pleased with the instability at kicker so far this preseason. After Shaun Suisham tore his ACL on a pointless tackle in the Hall of Fame Game, new signee Garrett Hartley tweaked his hamstring on a kickoff last weekend, forcing the Steelers to send a sixth-round pick to the Jaguars in exchange for Josh Scobee.

The 33-year-old departs Jacksonville as the franchise’s leading scorer, with 1022 points over his 11-year career. Scobee has converted 235 of 291 field goal attempts for a lifetime success rate of just under 81%.

He made a career-long 59-yarder in 2010, and is perhaps best remembered for his awesome effort in a 2011 Monday Night Football game against the Ravens. Scobee went 4/4 that night; his the only name on Jacksonville’s score sheet as they downed Baltimore 12-7 in a spectacularly terrible game.

Now with Pittsburgh, Scobee will be asked to complement a high-powered offense in a stadium with notoriously unkind kicking conditions, given its windy environment and open-field stadium seating.

Scobee is a fair 5/7 kicking at Heinz Field – including playoffs – but will need to be damn near perfect when called upon in 2015. The offense will realistically expect to come away with points on every single drive this season, and given what we’ve seen from their defense so far, they’re going to need every single one of them.

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