The Kansas City Chiefs are trying to get to the bottom of the inconsistency in their kicking operation.
Field goals and extra points haven’t come as easily for Harrison Butker this season for a variety of reasons. Some feel it’s still lingering effects of his early-season injury. Chiefs HC Andy Reid believes it’s simply a slump that Butker needs to work through. One former Chiefs player who has done the job pointed to the holder as the problem.
On Tuesday, Reid and Butker responded to that recent criticism from Dustin Colquitt directed at Tommy Townsend. For Reid, he was quick to shut out any outside noise.
“Listen, I – big personality, right? I mean, he loves to put his opinion out there,” Reid said. “I don’t worry about all that. We do our thing; we study all that stuff, and everybody’s got an opinion. I don’t worry about all that.”
While he doesn’t worry about it, Reid was forced to respond to it. Asked whether there was anything going on between the players in the kicking operation leading to the missed kicks, Reid explained that all three of the players involved take responsibility when a miss happens.
“I know what’s said out there, but we look at everything,” Reid said. “I’m not going to get into it but there’s nothing that gets by us, we look at everything. We’ve got to get through this, and they all take responsibility between the three of them (Harrison Butker, James Winchester and Tommy Townsend). We’ll get it worked out.”
For Butker, he won’t be pointing fingers at any other person in the kicking operation besides himself.
“You know, I’ve got to make the kick,” Butker told reporters in the locker room. “James (Winchester) and Tommy (Townsend) do a great job. I’ve got to finish it and get the ball through the uprights.”
At the end of the day, he knows that it’s on him to get the kick through the uprights, no matter where the laces land on the hold.
“It doesn’t seem like anything out of the ordinary,” Butker said. “You look across the league and you see guys hitting balls where the laces are facing straight at them and they’re still hitting it through. No matter what the ball’s doing, I’ve got to get it through the uprights.”
At the end of the day, fans, coaches, and players all want the same thing — for Butker to make his kicks. So what exactly is the solution? Reid says that Butker simply has to keep at it and work himself out of his funk.
“No, listen, you see that. (It’s) a little bit like a batter, I’ve mentioned this before,” Reid said. “You get into a little bit of a funk and that ball looks small then all of a sudden you work through that, and it looks big again (and) then you start hitting it better. And that’s where we’re at. We’re working through it and (we) still have a ton of trust in the process there. We’ve just got to work through it.”
What exactly does that mean for Butker, though? He says it’s all about finding that small change in his process that can lead to more consistency. That goes for kicking both field goals and extra points.
“That’s the hard part about kicking,” Butker said. “You’ve got to find out what that small change is and make it. And you know come through.”
The trick as Butker puts it, is not trying to change too much and hurting yourself even more in the process. He needs to find the right balance, and do it quickly, with the postseason rapidly approaching.