Placekickers live a lonely existence. The fans are on your side as long as you’re splitting the uprights. Miss one, well nobody can make them all. Miss two, people start whispering. Head out onto the field with the game on the line and you may as well have a spotlight glaring down at you from the top of the stadium. All that pressure doubles when you’re a kicker who has been brought in to replace a legend. That’s where Giorgio Tavecchio’s head is at right now as he prepares to replace Falcons franchise scoring leader Matt Bryant.
Tavecchio kicked in three games for the Falcons in 2018 and was perfect. In Weeks 7, 9 and 10 while filling in for Bryant, Tavecchio made all five of his field goal attempts, including two from beyond 50-yards and banged through all eight of his extra points. One thing you need to take into consideration though is, the two 50 yarders and a 40-yard field goal came while kicking within the comforts of Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Plus, he was also working with the knowledge that Bryant would be back from his hamstring injury.
In 2019, Tavecchio is going to be the man. Every miss next season will be answered with, Matt Bryant would have nailed that, in fan’s minds. In each Falcons loss, any misses by Tavecchio will be analyzed to determine how it would have affected the game if Bryant were there. If the Falcons lose by four in a game where Tavecchio missed twice, the thought running through fan’s minds will be, we would have won that game if Bryant were still here.
The ideal for Tavecchio is that he gets a chance within the first three games to bang through a couple of field goals with one being a game-winner. Matt Bryant is never going to be forgotten in Atlanta but early success by Tavecchio in Week 1 or 2 will go a long way towards making the placekicking job his.