JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The Jacksonville Jaguars began the day with one of the league’s most experienced and dependable kickers. By lunchtime they had turned the job over to a player who has never appeared in an NFL game and made only 63.2 percent of his field goal attempts in college.
It’s a risky move that won’t be popular and could come back to cost them.
The Jaguars have averaged just 15.7 points per game over the past three seasons (last in the NFL), but the one dependable player has been Josh Scobee, who is in his 12th season. He holds franchise records for points (1,022) and field goals made (235). More importantly, he had a field goal percentage of 80.7 (tied for the team record) and made 26 field goals of 50 or more yards in his career – including four of the longest in team history.
The record 59-yarder was a game-winner on the final play of a 31-28 victory over Indianapolis in 2010.
That experience, dependability and clutch performance is something that Jason Myers doesn’t yet have. In fact, he was not particularly accurate at Marist College, making only 63.2 percent of his field goal attempts (24 of 38). He made just 3 of 9 field goal attempts from 40-49 yards and the longest field goal he made in college was a school-record 49 yarder.
Myers didn’t kick anywhere professionally in 2013 but spent time with Arizona and San Jose in the Arena Football League in 2014. The Jaguars signed him in early March after attending a camp at which Myers was kicking.
The Jaguars gave Myers a three-year deal worth $1.575 million with no guaranteed money and brought him to camp to compete with Scobee. Myers made 4 of 5 field goal attempts, including a 55-yarder, and put seven of his eight kickoffs into the end zone.
Myers has some big shoes -- and stomachs -- to fill off the field, too. Scobee was one of the Jaguars’ most popular players, partly because he participated in the Field Goals for Firehouse promotion, which earned fans who registered for the promotion a free medium sub each time he kicked a field goal of 40 or more yards in a game.
More importantly, Scobee had eight game-winning field goals in his career. Myers will have to prove himself pretty quickly to show that the Jaguars didn’t make the wrong decision.