The kicking position has been a rollercoaster for the past two seasons for the Tennessee Titans.
And as of now, it is a question mark once again heading into the 2021 season.
Stephen Gostkowski manned the position last season with mixed results. At times, he was deadly accurate, evening picking up AFC Special Teams Player of the Week honors after a six-field goal game at Minnesota in September.
But Gostkowski, who turned 37 in January, also struggled in the middle of the season with misses – misfiring on eight field goals last season before recovering to make all six of his field goal attempts over the final six weeks of the season.
But Gostkowski is again a free agent, and there is still the matter of whether or not he wants to come back for a second season in Tennessee and a 16th NFL season overall. He has a home in the Nashville area and that was part of the reason he emerged from what was believed to be a semi-retirement in August to join the Titans for the 2020 season.
The Titans do have untested Tucker McCann on the roster. He spent a good portion of last season on the practice squad before being placed on the injured list. The Titans seem to like McCann’s potential, but a team that fancies itself as a strong playoff contender is unlikely to trust the kicking position to an NFL novice.
The kicking spot has been a problem area for a couple of years now, and part of the irony of the matter was that three of the kicker Tennessee employed in 2019 with less-than-stellar results all found themselves kicking well again in 2020.
Ryan Succop, the Titans long-time kicker who struggled through injuries in 2019 and was released, emerged in Tampa Bay and wound up with a Super Bowl ring.
Cody Parkey and Cairo Santos, who filled in for Succop two seasons ago, both had outstanding seasons in Cleveland and Chicago, respectively.
Certainly, Jon Robinson and Mike Vrabel have some sort of plan going into off-season work and training camp at a vital position. But for now what that is exactly remains unclear, especially if Gostkowski opts not to return.
Other free agent kicking options don't look overly attractive at the present time. The best available are veteran Dan Bailey, who wore out his welcome in Minnesota after making just 15 of 22 field goals last year, and Zane Gonzalez, who is just 26 and made 16 of 22 kicks a year ago for Arizona.