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Did Bengals make a mistake by cutting Super Bowl kicker Jake Elliott?

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Katherine TerrellESPN Staff Writer


The Eagles' win against the Patriots in the Super Bowl had to sting the Cincinnati Bengals, at least a little.
They had to watch the kicker they took in the fifth round of the 2017 draft set records for someone else.
Rookie Jake Elliott, who was plucked off the Bengals' practice squad this season, made a 46-yard kick to extend the Eagles' lead to eight points with 1:05 left to play, which ultimately sealed the game for Philadelphia. It also set the record for longest field goal by a rookie in the Super Bowl, breaking Elliott's own record of 42 yards earlier in the game.


It's hard not to feel like the Bengals might have missed out on their kicker of the future. However, that very game showed why the Bengals ultimately selected veteran Randy Bullock over Elliott in training camp.


Elliott made field goals of 25, 42 and 46 yards in the Super Bowl, but he also missed an early PAT that could have made the difference in the game and forced the Eagles to be aggressive and try for a two-point conversion. There won't be much rehashing of that miss because the Eagles won, but it did show that Elliott wasn't completely reliable on short kicks and PATs.


Elliott's strong leg was an attractive selling point for the Bengals, and in an interesting twist, it was a missed 60-yarder in the last preseason game that probably made it harder for Cincinnati to let him go. Elliott just barely missed that last kick, but showed he had an impressive leg strength that put him in the upper tier of kickers.
That leg strength would be on display for the Eagles, when he set a rookie record by kicking a 61-yard winning field goal against the Giants in the regular season.


Ultimately the Bengals didn't have the patience to ride out his rookie mistakes for a few reasons. As they entered 2017, the Bengals were coming off a 6-9-1 record and heading into the last season of Marvin Lewis' contract. Kicking problems had certainly contributed to their record in 2016 after Mike Nugentmissed six field goals and six PATs. He was ultimately cut for Bullock, whose lone miss in six attempts cost them a win against the Texans.


The Bengals wanted to fix the kicking situation, and fix it quickly. They took Elliott in the fifth round of the draft and made him the first kicker off the board. The Bengals, who highly value their picks, hadn't cut a draft pick in his rookie season in several years, so it seemed impossible that they would give the job to anyone else.


It became clear in training camp that wouldn't be the case. Bullock was almost perfect while Elliott was erratic in both practice and games, missing three field goals in preseason games and several in practice. Bullock was clearly the better kicker in the summer, and Lewis later said that if it had even been close, Elliott would have won the job.


Elliott went to the practice squad, was picked up by the Eagles, and went on to make 26-of-31 field goals (84 percent) in the regular season and 39-of-42 extra points (93 percent). Elliott missed three field goals under 40 yards, but was 5-of-6 on attempts of 50-yards or longer.
 

Bullock also played in 15 games, and made 18-of-20 field goals (90 percent) and 31-of-33 PATs (94 percent). His longest field goal was 51 yards. He went through a rough patch in the middle of the season. He had a 34-yard attempt blocked, missed a game with an injury, and missed PATs in back to back games. He was perfect in his final six games, and overall was solid
Bullock was certainly not the reason the Bengals went 7-9, and it's unlikely their record would have been much better with Elliott. The Bengals' last-place offense was so bad they couldn't even get into position to make a field goal attempt at times, and Bullock didn't even have an attempt in two blowout losses late in the season. Though Elliott was certainly capable of making field goals from 60 yards, it's hard to imagine the Bengals would have attempted such a long field goal unless they had no other option.


Neither Bullock nor Elliott were perfect this season, although the Bengals got the reliability they wanted in Bullock for the most part. However, the Bengals said they were only committed to Bullock week-to-week when he went through his rough patch. It's unlikely the Eagles feel that way with Elliott, who will probably be kicking there for years to come.


The Bengals made the safe choice at the time, but had they been willing to take a bigger risk, they might have ultimately been rewarded with long-term stability at the position.


http://www.espn.com/blog/cincinnati-bengals/post/_/id/29564/did-bengals-make-a-mistake-by-cutting-super-bowl-kicker-jake-elliott

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I thought so at the time and always will.  Bullock's numbers are actually better than I expected they would be, but I'm always a bit uneasy when he kicks.

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Yes...

Bullok = Journeyman

Elliot = Super Bowl kicker

 

Elliot will be alive and kickin' long after Fat Randy is the answer to a trivia question.

 

Should have had patience with Elliot's growing pains.

Cutting Randy or putting him on the practice squad (if possible) woould

have been a wiser move because ain't no on was going to snatch him.

 

As soon as Elliot was put on the PS, you knew it was only a matter of time until he

was gone.

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Meh...I didn't love the move. You use a mid-round draft pick to take the first kicker in the draft and then you essentially let him leave for no return. Not super bright. Having said that, Elliott, in his 1st year, proved himself to be unreliable from that middle range of 30-40. He looked better in the playoffs but did miss two XPs. Again, didn't love the move as it didn't make sense from a resources standpoint. As we all know, by and large, kickers are up and down and tend to be risky propositions for the most part. Fat Randy is only 28 so, it's not like he couldn't be the Bengals kicker for many years to come. Did we miss out on the next big thing at PK? Maybe but, if that was our only worry, we'd be looking pretty good.

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38 minutes ago, BengalFanInTO said:

Meh...I didn't love the move. You use a mid-round draft pick to take the first kicker in the draft and then you essentially let him leave for no return. Not super bright. Having said that, Elliott, in his 1st year, proved himself to be unreliable from that middle range of 30-40. He looked better in the playoffs but did miss two XPs. Again, didn't love the move as it didn't make sense from a resources standpoint. As we all know, by and large, kickers are up and down and tend to be risky propositions for the most part. Fat Randy is only 28 so, it's not like he couldn't be the Bengals kicker for many years to come. Did we miss out on the next big thing at PK? Maybe but, if that was our only worry, we'd be looking pretty good.

Pretty much my feelings.  Wasted a 5th rounder on a kicker.   Looking back at the last 10 years of 5th round picks you have about a 30% chance of getting a long term good player.  Cam Chancellor and Richard Sherman were both 5th rounders.  There is really no reason to ever waste any pick on a position you don't need, particular kicker where there are plenty of FAs out there.

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The organization walked themselves into that situation. They stated it was an open competition and they stayed true to their word. But I believe they wanted and expected Elliott to win the competition.  That backfired on them.

 

Hind sight will tell. Still too early to say, but does look like a botched personnel move.

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I don't think the mistake was cutting Elliott and keeping Fat Randy.  The winner of the competition was clear and it would have strained credibility to hand the job to Jake.  The mistake was having a competition for the job at all after using a 5th round pick on a kicker.  It would have made more sense to release Bullock right away after the draft if they really wanted Elliott to be the guy.  Of course, that would have meant that they were going to accept any growing pains that Jake dealt with.  Philly was willing to stick with him even though he was far from perfect and his future looks bright.  It sucks that another team will benefit from our pick simply because we backed ourselves into a corner by having an unnecessary camp battle. 

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On 2/9/2018 at 8:33 AM, BengalFanInTO said:

Meh...I didn't love the move. You use a mid-round draft pick to take the first kicker in the draft and then you essentially let him leave for no return. Not super bright. Having said that, Elliott, in his 1st year, proved himself to be unreliable from that middle range of 30-40. He looked better in the playoffs but did miss two XPs. Again, didn't love the move as it didn't make sense from a resources standpoint. As we all know, by and large, kickers are up and down and tend to be risky propositions for the most part. Fat Randy is only 28 so, it's not like he couldn't be the Bengals kicker for many years to come. Did we miss out on the next big thing at PK? Maybe but, if that was our only worry, we'd be looking pretty good.

This.

 

I didnt have an issue with who we chose, just that we kind of wasted a 5th round pick.

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2 hours ago, Jamie_B said:

This.

 

I didnt have an issue with who we chose, just that we kind of wasted a 5th round pick.

 

I mean, kind of? It's a 5th round pick, how many of those end up doing anything? It's not like they picked some track star WR in the first round and couldn't get him on the.. Oh wait.

 

A 5th round pick though?  They wanted a better kicker & turns out dude is meh.  2 missed XP's in the Super Bowl? Nahhhh.  Oh well.

 

 

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31 minutes ago, T-Dub said:

 

I mean, kind of? It's a 5th round pick, how many of those end up doing anything? It's not like they picked some track star WR in the first round and couldn't get him on the.. Oh wait.

 

A 5th round pick though?  They wanted a better kicker & turns out dude is meh.  2 missed XP's in the Super Bowl? Nahhhh.  Oh well.

 

 

see I feel like you can get a decent backup or role player type of picks after the 4th. 

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5 hours ago, Jamie_B said:

see I feel like you can get a decent backup or role player type of picks after the 4th. 

 

Oh you definitely can, but I'd call it no better than 50-50 odds on those 2nd day picks.  No surprise to see one not make the cut, it's NBD.

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It literally makes zero sense to draft a kicker. 

 

1. Plenty are available after the draft. 

2. The position is equal parts leg strength and ability to succeed in pressure situations. Let someone else take him first and let him struggle somewhat and get through that pressure part. Let another team have the growing pains. 

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If Elliot had stayed, he'd have been the guy who missed 35 yarders and XP's all year. The whole board would be bitching about keeping him.

He went to a TEAM that won the Super Bowl. A feat he had very little to do with.

Dumb article, dumb thread.

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22 hours ago, LostInDaJungle said:

If Elliot had stayed, he'd have been the guy who missed 35 yarders and XP's all year. The whole board would be bitching about keeping him.

He went to a TEAM that won the Super Bowl. A feat he had very little to do with.

Dumb article, dumb thread.

This guy is the worst. 

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21 minutes ago, LostInDaJungle said:

Me or Katherine Terrell?

LOL rep

 

FWIW, I thought your original point was solid. It's not like Elliot was one of the league's best kickers and we did have a legitimate kicking competition like a lot of people wanted the Bengals to do. People would be bitching whether Randy or Jake were our kicker this year. Until we have a kicker like Justin Tucker and a QB like Tom Brady we'll never hear the end of bitching about those 2 positions.

 

One thing I'll agree with that others mentioned was that we shouldn't have drafted a kicker in the 5th round unless the plan was for him to be the starter no matter what happened in camp/preseason. I wanted to see a kicking competition myself but I'd have rather seen it with a UDFA or UFA to come in and battle Fat Randy.

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1 minute ago, omgdrdoom said:

LOL rep

 

FWIW, I thought your original point was solid. It's not like Elliot was one of the league's best kickers and we did have a legitimate kicking competition like a lot of people wanted the Bengals to do. People would be bitching whether Randy or Jake were our kicker this year. Until we have a kicker like Justin Tucker and a QB like Tom Brady we'll never hear the end of bitching about those 2 positions.

 

One thing I'll agree with that others mentioned was that we shouldn't have drafted a kicker in the 5th round unless the plan was for him to be the starter no matter what happened in camp/preseason. I wanted to see a kicking competition myself but I'd have rather seen it with a UDFA or UFA to come in and battle Fat Randy.

Yeah, but the "wasted pick" thing is just spilled milk at this point.

The premise is bonkers... A guy who missed two XP's in the Super Bowl - How could we have let him go? If the Iggles don't convert on 4th down, Elliot is the guy who lost the Super Bowl. One play he wasn't involved in and suddenly we should be sorry he's gone? Are we really talking about a kicker? A kicker?

 

Fat Randy won the competition in camp, AND had a better year. He just played for a worse team. Elliot wouldn't have won us even one extra game this year. 

And if you want to talk about 5th round picks, how the hell did we let Diehlman go while holding on to a bunch of Practice Squad guys who couldn't find their own jocks with two hands and a flashlight?

I guess if the Rams had won the Super Bowl with Diehlman riding the pine, we'd be talking about that 5th round pick now. If the Iggles failed to convert on 4th down, we'd be talking about Burkehead. Last year Mo Sanu was suddenly the greatest receiver ever because he was on the Falcons, and no one gave a crap about Marvin Jones having a great year for the Lions... 

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1 hour ago, LostInDaJungle said:

Me or Katherine Terrell?

Yes.

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34 minutes ago, LostInDaJungle said:

Awww, you're making me blush. The worst? 

See the source image

I never said you specifically.

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