Giorgio Tavecchio

Falcons To Sign Giorgio Tavecchio

The Falcons have agreed to sign kicker Giorgio Tavecchio to a two-year deal, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). Tavecchio, who was with the club in camp, will hold down the fort while starter Matt Bryant recovers from a hamstring injury.

Tavecchio, 28, was released by the Raiders earlier this year, despite a decent 2017 season in which he made 16 of 21 field goal attempts, including three from 50-plus yards. He also made 33 of his 34 extra point attempts last year. He was signed in August to compete for the top job, but that was a longshot given Bryant’s track record. While Tavecchio missed the final cut, the Falcons kept his number handy.

Through six games, the ageless Bryant has nailed all nine of his field goal attempts, including three tries from 50 yards or more. For at least a game or two, Tavecchio will try to uphold the high standard Bryant has set.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

South Rumors: Falcons, Buccaneers, Morgan

The Falcons will be looking for a new kicker for temporary purposes. Matt Bryant will miss Atlanta’s Week 7 Monday night game, Dan Quinn said. The longtime Falcons kicker is dealing with a strained hamstring, per Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com, who adds Giorgio Tavecchio is among the names the Falcons are considering as a replacement. Tavecchio was briefly affiliated with the Falcons earlier this year, but Bryant’s kicked in all six Falcon games in his 10th season with the franchise. He hasn’t missed a game since he was limited to 11 appearances in 2015. Tavecchio will be among “a number of kickers” considered during the lead-up to the Falcons’ home Monday-nighter against the Giants.

Here’s the latest from the South divisions, continuing on the Atlanta injury front:

  • Another week of recovery will likely be required for Devonta Freeman, per McClure. The Falcons’ starting running back is has dealt with knee and foot trouble and now has a groin issue to overcome. Atlanta’s gotten by with Tevin Coleman and newcomer Ito Smith in the backfield.
  • Ali Marpet became the latest Buccaneers starter to sign a lucrative extension, joining Mike Evans and Cameron Brate in doing so this year. More re-ups could be on track. Kwon Alexander and the Bucs are still talking an extension, Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times reports. While Stroud writes it’s uncertain if the Bucs want to pay Alexander like a top-tier linebacker — they have Lavonte David on the books at $10MM per year — he’s on the radar. As is fourth-year left tackle Donovan Smith, who’s in a contract year. Despite rarely being viewed as a productive player by Pro Football Focus, Smith is well thought of among Bucs brass, per Stroud. Adam Humphries is another player the Bucs would like to retain, though they have a crowded receiver room. Chris Godwin‘s emerged as Tampa Bay’s No. 3 man and may be Evans’ top complement if DeSean Jackson ($10MM non-guaranteed salary in 2019) isn’t back next year. Humphries’ contract expires after this season.
  • Derrick Morgan will miss a few weeks because of a shoulder injury, Mike Vrabel said. A ninth-year player who dealt with a knee injury during the preseason, Morgan has played in all six Titans games this year and has only missed more than two games in a season once in the past eight years. Harold Landry will likely start opposite Brian Orakpo in the meantime.
  • Stationed on the Texans‘ PUP list, D’Onta Foreman can return to practice this week but probably won’t, per Bill O’Brien (via Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle, on Twitter). Foreman’s been out since late last season because of an Achilles’ tendon tear.
  • Braden Smith appears to have solidified himself as the Colts‘ right tackle. Indianapolis went through several players in hopes of identifying a candidate, but Frank Reich said Monday (via ESPN.com’s Mike Wells, on Twitter) this job will be Smith’s to lose. Smith’s started three games for the Colts this season.
  • Former Lions, Patriots and Bengals linebacker Marquis Flowers worked out for the Texans on Monday, Sarah Barshop of ESPN.com tweets. The Lions cut Flowers last week. He played in 16 games for the Bengals in 2015 and ’16 and suited up for all 19 of the Patriots’ games last year.

Raiders To Add K Matt McCrane

After 17 seasons featuring the same kicker, the Raiders are pivoting to a third in the past two years.

While Mike Nugent battles a hip injury, the Raiders are adding another leg in rookie UDFA Matt McCrane, Mike Garafolo of NFL.com tweets. McCrane went to camp with the Cardinals this year.

Nugent was only added after Oakland opted to cut Giorgio Tavecchio, its 2017 kicker. Tavecchio was also on the list of specialists the Raiders auditioned on Tuesday, with Sirius XM Radio’s Adam Caplan reporting (via Twitter) Tavecchio joined McCrane, Michael Badgley, Jon Brown and Trevor Moore.

Nugent suffered a hip malady in the Raiders’ loss to the Dolphins on Sunday. He remains on the Raiders’ roster, giving them a two-kicker setup going into Week 4. The Raiders used Tavecchio last season and Nugent for the first three games of this one, after Nugent beat out rookie UDFA Joel Pineiro for the job. Prior to that, Sebastian Janikowski served as the Raiders’ kicker from 2000-16.

A Kansas State product, McCrane spent four seasons as the primary kicker for the Big 12 program. He made 57 of his 66 career kicks — by the end of his sophomore season he’d made 25 of 26 kicks — and earned an invitation to the East-West Shrine Game. He could not beat out Phil Dawson for the Cardinals’ kicking job in camp.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFL Workout Updates: 9/17/18

Today’s workout updates, with all links going to NFL reporter Howard Balzer’s of Twitter account unless otherwise noted:

Baltimore Ravens

Cincinnati Bengals

Cleveland Browns

Dallas Cowboys

Indianapolis Colts

Jacksonville Jaguars

New York Jets

Philadelphia Eagles

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

  • TE Nick O’Leary (link)

Tennessee Titans

Washington Redskins

Falcons Reduce Roster To 52

The Falcons have trimmed down their roster. The team announced that they’ve reduced their roster to 52 players, meaning they’re leaving one spot open for a potential free agent addition.

We learned yesterday that the organization was moving on from defensive back Ron Parker and offensive lineman Austin Pasztor. The rest of the team’s moves are below:

Waived:

Waived/injured:

Falcons Sign K Giorgio Tavecchio

The Falcons have signed former Raiders kicker Giorgio Tavecchio, according to a team announcement. The move gives the Falcons three kickers on their roster for the time being. 

Tavecchio, 28, was released by the Raiders this year, despite a decent 2017 season in which he made 16 of 21 field goal attempts, including three from 50-plus yards. He also made 33 of his 34 extra point attempts last year.

Tavecchio will compete with Matt Bryant – the Falcons’ all-time leading scorer – and Georgia product David Marvin for the team’s kicking job. The game of musical chairs won’t last long with roster cuts coming on Saturday.

The Falcons inked Bryant to a three-year, $10.5MM extension in March to make him one of the ten highest-paid kickers in the NFL. The deal included a $2MM signing bonus, so that would be a sunk cost for Atlanta if they release him.

Last year, Bryant nailed 87.2% of his field goals, good for 12th in the NFL. He also sank eight-of-nine attempts from 50 yards or more.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Texans Work Out Kickers Tavecchio, Rose

The Texans worked out kickers Giorgio Tavecchio and Nick Rose on Wednesday, sources tell Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle (on Twitter). Both players performed well, but Wilson hears that Tavecchio is the one who is under consideration to be signed. 

Tavecchio played for Texans special teams coach Brad Seely while they were both with the Raiders, so he would be a logical fit for the team. If signed, he’ll compete with incumbent kicker Kai’imi Fairbairn for the job.

Last year, Fairbairn connected on 20 of 25 field goal tries (80%) and 32 of 35 of extra point attempts (91.4%). Tavecchio, meanwhile, made 16 of his 21 field goal attempts (76%), including three-of-four tries from 50 yards or further.

Tavecchio recently auditioned for the Falcons, but left Atlanta without a deal. His next opportunity may come in Houston.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Falcons Work Out Giorgio Tavecchio

Kicker Giorgio Tavecchio worked out for the Falcons this week, a source tells Michael Gehlken of the Las Vegas Review-Journal (on Twitter). Tavecchio was waived by the Raiders on Friday, making him a free agent. 

The Tavecchio audition could be an indication that the Falcons have some doubts about 43-year-old Matt Bryant. That would be somewhat surprising, since the Falcons inked Bryant to a three-year, $10.5MM extension in March to make him one of the ten highest-paid kickers in the NFL. The deal included a $2MM signing bonus, so that would be a sunk cost for Atlanta if they release him.

Last year, Bryant nailed 87.2% of his field goals, good for 12th in the NFL. He also sank eight-of-nine attempts from 50 yards or more, so his power hasn’t deteriorated much. Tavecchio, meanwhile, made 16 of his 21 field goal attempts with the Raiders in 2017 (76%), including three-of-four tries from 50 yards or further.

The Falcons also have Georgia UDFA kicker David Marvin on the 90-man roster.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Raiders Rumors: Switzer, DL, Kickers

While Jon Gruden‘s yet to bestow much praise upon Martavis Bryant, the Raiders’ other wide receiver trade acquisition has impressed the new coach. It’s looking like the former Cowboys draft choice will have a role in the passing game, and Ryan Switzer certainly will contribute on special teams. Switzer returned seven punts for touchdowns while at North Carolina, including five his freshman year. He returned a punt for a score last season as a rookie.

He’s a guy that can change the game, I think, on third down. He’s a tough matchup,” Gruden said, via Vic Tafur of The Athletic (subscription required). “He’s quick. He has vertical speed. He has special teams ability. … I love Switzer. I think he’s one of the best punt returners of college football, perhaps the history of college football. He’s as good as I saw.”

Seth Roberts has served as the Raiders’ top slot option for the better part of the past three seasons for a team that hasn’t featured much depth at the position. Switzer, if nothing else, may supply that.

Here’s the latest out of Oakland.

  • It’s not finalized the Raiders will play the 2019 season in Oakland, but they will remain in Napa, Calif., for training camp next year. It could be their last one in northern California, however. In 2020, Reno has emerged as the favorite, Michael Gehlken of the Las Vegas Review-Journal notes. Reno officials visited Raiders camp this weekend, Gehlken reports, and Las Vegas has been ruled out as a camp site. The Raiders hope to play the 2019 season in Oakland, and while 2020 represents the franchise’s relocation goal, a firm departure date hasn’t been established.
  • Giorgio Tavecchio‘s kicking foot looks to have played a key part in his Raiders downfall. Holder Johnny Townsend had to switch sides when the Silver and Black alternated reps between last year’s kicker (Tavecchio, who is left-footed) and rookie UDFA Eddy Pineiro, and Gruden was tired of that continuing to be required, he said today (via Tafur). Gruden added that Pineiro has kicked well in camp and that he views Mike Nugent as a legitimate option, rather than a mere mentor.
  • The Raiders have not been able to supplement Khalil Mack and Bruce Irvin with much in the way of complementary pass rushers the past two seasons, but a growing belief exists among Raiders coaches and scouts their rookie contingent of defensive linemen — P.J. Hall, Arden Key and Maurice Hurst — can be early contributors, Scott Bair of NBC Sports Bay Area notes. The team has injury-prone defensive end Mario Edwards entering a contract year and fifth-year nose tackle Justin Ellis back. And the Raiders signed Tank Carradine in March. Eddie Vanderdoes enters his second season after being a primary starter as a rookie, but he’s coming off an ACL tear. The team looks to have a deeper pool of options up front.
  • The Raiders are also making some history on their strength and conditioning staff. Kelsey Martinez is signed on to work as an assistant strength assistant, Gehlken writes. The 26-year-old becomes the franchise’s first woman to work in this department. Martinez worked under new Raiders strength boss Tom Shaw at the Tom Shaw Performance facility in Orlando, Fla., the past four years.

Raiders To Waive Giorgio Tavecchio, Sign Mike Nugent

The Raiders are going to be moving in a different direction at kicker. Giorgio Tavecchio won’t be a part of Oakland’s kicking competition any longer, with Michael Gehlken of the Las Vegas Review-Journal reporting (on Twitter) the second-year kicker will be waived.

Oakland, though, won’t automatically give rookie Eddy Pineiro the job. Mike Nugent will join the team, per Gehlken.

Tavecchio served as the Raiders’ kicker throughout last season, having replaced Sebastian Janikowski. Tavecchio made 16 of his 21 field goal attempts with the Raiders in 2017 and converted 33 of his 34 PAT tries. But Jon Gruden has orchestrated a string of shakeups this offseason, and Tavecchio’s trip to the waiver wire serves as the latest.

The 28-year-old Italian endured a rough Friday at Raiders camp, per Vic Tafur of The Athletic (Twitter link). The Raiders, though, gave Pineiro a $25K signing bonus to compete with the incumbent as a UDFA.

If the 36-year-old Nugent beats out the rookie, the Raiders will be his seventh team. He last kicked for the Bears and Cowboys (four games apiece) in 2017. He served as the Bengals’ kicker for six years prior to that. However, Tafur adds (on Twitter) Nugent will be viewed as more of a mentor than full-fledged competition for Pineiro. He may be insurance in case the Florida product, who made 17 of his 18 field goal tries last season, has a rough preseason.

Two right-footed kickers are now vying for the Raiders’ job, with the winner set to become the first non-lefty to serve as the Oakland kicker since Brad Daluiso 17 years ago.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.