When you have one job that you are being paid to do with few people outside of your inner-circle watching it is fairly easy to doubt yourself after goofing up just once, but it’s even easier to rebound; you’ve been doing it your whole life, and have solidified yourself at that position.
However, when you’re Josh Scobee, a 12-year NFL veteran, and have the world watching you get paid millions of dollars to do what anyone in this world could do – miss a field goal – it’s frustrating. When you mess up once, it’s easy to brush the dirt off and get back up and make the next one, it happens to every one; but when you miss another, then another, then eventually missing four of his next ten, while trying to replace an almost automatic Shaun “Squeeze ‘Em” Suisham it gets in your head. You begin to doubt yourself, and are dreading every opportunity that arises for you to do something you’ve been doing your whole life.
It’s not like Josh Scobee was a terrible kicker his whole career, he was just on a terrible team. He was kicking a respectable 81% (235/291) in his previous 11 years, but is just 6-10 (60% for the lazy) with a miss extra point chip-shot. Now you may think: “Oh, Matt, 6 out of 10 is good!” Not when you’re a) in the NFL and do this for a living b) 2 of those misses cost your team the game and c) the other two (against New England) could have mad it an entirely new ball game.
The thing about football is it is very one-dimensional. Josh Scobee kicks the football, if he can’t do that he’s about as useless on the field as your average Joe. If a quarterback can’t throw the football, in the NFL, they won’t put him in there and run 40 different versions of the option all game; they just tell him to hang it up.
This situation reminds me a lot of the yips Pedro Alvarez experienced during the 2014 season where he literally could not throw the ball from 3rd to 1st anymore. It was something that got into his head, and he literally could not do it anymore. What he could do, however, was use that glove-turned-vacuum in his left hand, and hit a right-handed fastball so hard it’d make you question your most recent life-choices and think “wow, I’m about his age, and what am I doing with my life?”
The thing is, in baseball the Pittsburgh Pirates could just move him to 1st base, a position that virtually eliminated the problem barring a few learning curves. In terms of Josh Scobee, unless he can punt, – which could be a possibility, but is highly unlikely, given Jordan Berry’s less-than-average game – if he can’t kick, he doesn’t have a job on a 53-man roster. There’s no moving him to any other position on the team other than as a placeholder. It happens in almost every sport – see Tiger Woods’ recent collapse – and once it starts to scratch at your mental, it’s all downhill from there.
The Pirates still had something to believe in with Pedro Alvarez’s offensive ability, but the Steelers are struggling to find an ounce of faith in Mr. Scobee. I’d be surprised to see him on the roster by the end of Monday night’s game between the Lions and the Seahawks; but if for some reason he is, I – as well as the rest of western Pennsylvania – sure hope he doesn’t mess up again… Pittsburgh may catch fire.
Everything being said, I will forever question Mike Tomlin and Todd Haley’s decision to run a quarterback draw and a sideline out-pattern that Vick had struggled with all week in practice on two separate 4th and shorts. I can respect the decision to go for it given the situation, but dear Lord hand it to the best running back in the NFL! Right, Pete? Assumingly, none of that would have mattered if Scobee makes his kick, but I digress.
You live, and you learn…