October 18th, 2020 at 8:21pm CST by Andrew Ortenberg
The Vikings fell to 1-5 after their lopsided loss to the Falcons on Sunday, and Kirk Cousins had another bad game. He ended up leading a few scoring drives in garbage time to make his final numbers not look too bad, but his three early interceptions sealed the loss. It was his second game of the year with three picks, and he now has a league-high ten on the year. Speaking to the media after the game, Cousins acknowledged that his turnover issues could lead to a benching if he doesn’t get things cleaned up. “The reality is if the pace that I’m on, in terms of the interceptions, if that were to continue, I won’t finish the season. I won’t,” Cousins said bluntly, per Courtney Cronin of ESPN.com (Twitter link).
“There’s a little bit of – you’ve got to improve whether it’s them telling me ‘hey, we’ve got to improve’ or them pulling me, you’ve got to get better and that will be what the rest of the season will be about for me,” the Vikings’ signal-caller said. For what it’s worth, head coach Mike Zimmer said after the game that he didn’t consider benching Cousins during the loss. Minnesota’s backup is former Jared Goff clipboard-holder Sean Mannion, who isn’t exactly the most appealing second-string option. Cousins signed an extension back in March that has him under contract through the 2022 season. His dead cap hit would be $41MM next year, so moving on after this season isn’t really an option. As such, Zimmer is in a pretty tight bind if Cousins keeps playing like this.
Here’s more from the NFC North:
The Packers worked out kicker Giorgio Tavecchio earlier this week, per Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle (Twitter link). There’s no indication there’s any problem with Mason Crosby, so this was probably just Green Bay doing some due diligence in the event of an injury of COVID-19 problems. Tavecchio has kicked for the Raiders and Falcons in recent years, and also spent time with the Los Angeles Wildcats of the XFL.
Tavecchio isn’t the only one the Packers are planning on working out. Green Bay will host linebacker Alvin Jones as soon as he clears the COVID-19 protocols, according to Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com. Notably, Jones is the win brother of Packers star running back Aaron Jones. A fellow UTEP product, the linebacker spent the past couple years with the Ravens, mostly on injured reserve and the practice squad. He’s yet to appear in a regular season NFL game. “I’m glad he’s going to get his opportunity and get a chance to work out,” Aaron said to the media. “I know he’ll do whatever he needs to do and hopefully he’s on the team with me. I’d love to have that. That’d be a true joy.“
The Bears improved to 5-1 with their win over the Panthers on Sunday, and they did it without one of their position coaches. Offensive line coach Juan Castillo is away from the team as he self isolates due to a close exposure to someone who is COVID-19 positive, Brad Briggs of the Chicago Tribune tweets. Castillo is apparently considered high risk, and the positive he was in contact with was someone away from the team and not a player.
While Rosas did not kick well in Week 12, also booting a kickoff out of bounds, it would still be rather surprising to see a team give up on a third-year kicker who received a 2018 Pro Bowl invite. Rosas made 32 of 33 field goal tries last season and missed just one extra point. This year, he has not received nearly as many field goal chances. The former UDFA out of Southern Oregon is 8-for-12 on field goals and has missed three PATs.
Walsh caught on briefly with the Falcons and worked out for the Patriots and Jets this year. He also took part in a January workout for the then-kicker-needy Bears. Tavecchio and Walsh were briefly Falcons teammates this summer. The former held Atlanta’s kicking job for part of the 2018 season.
Another kicker shakeup may occur this preseason. With their incumbent kicker struggling, the Falcons will sign Blair Walsh, Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com reports (on Twitter). While Giorgio Tavecchio remains on the team, he is now set for a full-fledged competition.
The Falcons confirmed the move, which comes after Dan Quinn suggested the team would bring in competition for Tavecchio. The third-year kicker has struggled during the preseason, missing 4 of 8 attempts — including a 39-yarder — thus far this month.
A Georgia alum, Walsh worked out for the Jets and Bears this year. Both teams opted against adding the former Vikings kicker. Should Walsh beat out Tavecchio, he would face his former team in Week 1. Walsh did not play in 2018.
Walsh has not kicked since a disappointing 2017 season. The Seahawks moved on from him after he went 21-for-29 that season. Minnesota initially selected Walsh in the 2012 sixth round and used him as its kicker for five seasons. The 29-year-old specialist earned All-Pro acclaim as a rookie, going 10-for-10 from beyond 50 yards, but his miss inside of 30 yards cost the Vikings a wild-card win against the Seahawks in 2015. He has yet to fully rebound from that errant try.
Giorgio Tavecchio might be on shaky ground. After another rocky preseason performance, Falcons head coach Dan Quinn indicated that he might look into replacing the kicker.
“Any time at any position, when we miss the mark, we want to find out why and what we can do to get better,” Quinn said. “It’s definitely a spot we are continuing to evaluate and that is always the case.”
Tavecchio’s latest miss came on a 39-yard try, which is a chip shot by NFL standards. That was his fourth miss in eight attempts this preseason, which could be enough for Quinn to kick him off the roster.
“My focus is always on myself and controlling the controllable,” Tavecchio said. “There’s a lot of things out of your control in this business. I know when I wake up every morning, I say a little prayer of gratitude and give my best each day.”
October 16th, 2018 at 12:21pm CST by Zachary Links
The Falcons have agreed to sign kicker Giorgio Tavecchioto 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.