Is Ryland Our Placekicker?

Aug 17, 2022
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Perhaps I'm not paying attention but are they going to bring in any kickers to challenge Ryland? Or am I expecting too much too soon?
 

Ferm Sheller

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I could see them drafting one in the late rounds. It's an important position and Ryland was abysmal.
 

IdiotKicker

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They should find a new kicker they don’t draft. There is no need to spend draft capital on the position and Ryland has shown very little to this point. Easy way to improve performance next year is to get a kicker making 85% of kicks.
 

Justthetippett

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Get a UFA and a vet, let them duke it out. I don't think Ryland has earned anything except a chance to win the job.
 

Dollar

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I watched Ryland a bit in college and I'm pretty confident that he will turn things around and be a reliable NFL kicker. Many of his misses last year involved bad weather or bad snaps, and I think he could really turn things around in year two. It's not a bad idea to bring in a veteran as competition but I expect Ryland to win the job next season.
 

lexrageorge

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I watched Ryland a bit in college and I'm pretty confident that he will turn things around and be a reliable NFL kicker. Many of his misses last year involved bad weather or bad snaps, and I think he could really turn things around in year two. It's not a bad idea to bring in a veteran as competition but I expect Ryland to win the job next season.
I think this is the likely outcome as well. Kickers can and do improve over shaky rookie seasons. Maybe some better coaching gets him back on track.
 

Justthetippett

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I think this is the likely outcome as well. Kickers can and do improve over shaky rookie seasons. Maybe some better coaching gets him back on track.
Idk. The kid could not hit from the right hash. It was like watching a golfer with one shot shape. If he fixes that, maybe. He has a strong leg but there are lots of guys out there now that can boom it.
 

AB in DC

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C'mon guys, free agency hasn't even started yet (officially) and we're already whining about moves they haven't made yet?
 

Smiling Joe Hesketh

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Idk. The kid could not hit from the right hash. It was like watching a golfer with one shot shape. If he fixes that, maybe. He has a strong leg but there are lots of guys out there now that can boom it.
There is where I am at. He was missing from the right hash no matter the weather or the circumstances. I highly doubt he'll be able to fix that, that is a fatal flaw.

I know he hit the kick in Denver but he was absolutely horrific the rest of the year and there's no reason to bring him back.
 

Valek123

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I’d look to sign Karty or Dalmas as he’s use to colder weather. I have little faith in Ryland improving and would rather double down to see if he out performs either of those options.
 

ShaneTrot

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There is where I am at. He was missing from the right hash no matter the weather or the circumstances. I highly doubt he'll be able to fix that, that is a fatal flaw.

I know he hit the kick in Denver but he was absolutely horrific the rest of the year and there's no reason to bring him back.
After hopefully 15 years of Maye or Daniels, we will be thanking that kid for the Giants' miss and his general suckitude.
 

dynomite

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They should find a new kicker they don’t draft. There is no need to spend draft capital on the position and Ryland has shown very little to this point. Easy way to improve performance next year is to get a kicker making 85% of kicks.
Interested in your perspective here for obvious reasons. Sorry if you wrote about this elsewhere, but how do you feel about Ryland? Is he salvageable from your perspective?
 

IdiotKicker

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Interested in your perspective here for obvious reasons. Sorry if you wrote about this elsewhere, but how do you feel about Ryland? Is he salvageable from your perspective?
Copying from the 2023 draft thread - I think he’s a tough kid and I like how he bounced back in the Denver game. He has a big leg. But I think his mechanics suffer from all kinds of inconsistent timing that cause him to spray the ball all over the place. I don’t love guys who generate their torque with a whippy, outside-in motion. It creates the conditions for these kinds of issues. I like guys who are more vertical and work inside-out and drive the ball that way. It’s the exact same as golf and what creates the most stable and consistent platform there. So I wouldn’t have gone the Ryland route because I don’t like his swing. And I wouldn’t keep him now because he’s not getting results with a swing I don’t like.

As far as him being salvageable, if I were to try to do so, it would be with a complete rebuild of his swing, and that's not something you do at the NFL level when you're already struggling.
 

Justthetippett

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Copying from the 2023 draft thread - I think he’s a tough kid and I like how he bounced back in the Denver game. He has a big leg. But I think his mechanics suffer from all kinds of inconsistent timing that cause him to spray the ball all over the place. I don’t love guys who generate their torque with a whippy, outside-in motion. It creates the conditions for these kinds of issues. I like guys who are more vertical and work inside-out and drive the ball that way. It’s the exact same as golf and what creates the most stable and consistent platform there. So I wouldn’t have gone the Ryland route because I don’t like his swing. And I wouldn’t keep him now because he’s not getting results with a swing I don’t like.

As far as him being salvageable, if I were to try to do so, it would be with a complete rebuild of his swing, and that's not something you do at the NFL level when you're already struggling.
Maybe a dumb question but can't these guys develop different swings and use them on demand? Like you have your "go to", in his case the outside in swing (the over the top-ish golf swing), but you also have an inside out draw, a more straight back straight through, even your hold up fade when the wind gets weird, etc. I know they need something repeatable, but it doesn't seem impossible to have a few alternatives in your bag. I mean they do kick a football for a living. Plenty of time to practice!
 

IdiotKicker

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Maybe a dumb question but can't these guys develop different swings and use them on demand? Like you have your "go to", in his case the outside in swing (the over the top-ish golf swing), but you also have an inside out draw, a more straight back straight through, even your hold up fade when the wind gets weird, etc. I know they need something repeatable, but it doesn't seem impossible to have a few alternatives in your bag. I mean they do kick a football for a living. Plenty of time to practice!
Generally speaking, no. The easier thing to do is to know where to aim given any particular wind and adjust your aim accordingly so you have fewer moving parts. Ans you pick it up from practice, just like golf. 10mph crosswind from the right at 30 yards? No change, the ball won’t move until it’s past the uprights. 8mph wind from the left at 45 yards? Aim 5 feet to the left to compensate. 20 mph wind from the right? Put it just outside the right upright. Because in kicking, it’s really all mental. There is just one swing you need to hit every time. There’s no different terrain, there’s no slope, it’s just a flat lie with a fixed aerial target. So we’re path-agnostic.

Punters on the other hand do have that bag of tricks because they want balls that move different ways in the air or if they bounce. Most NFL guys now have at least 3-4 different shots they hit, and some of the real technicians have close to 10.
 

DJnVa

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Punters on the other hand do have that bag of tricks because they want balls that move different ways in the air or if they bounce. Most NFL guys now have at least 3-4 different shots they hit, and some of the real technicians have close to 10.
I'm assigning you homework to writer a post on this. You know, when you have time.
 

dynomite

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Copying from the 2023 draft thread - I think he’s a tough kid and I like how he bounced back in the Denver game. He has a big leg. But I think his mechanics suffer from all kinds of inconsistent timing that cause him to spray the ball all over the place. I don’t love guys who generate their torque with a whippy, outside-in motion. It creates the conditions for these kinds of issues. I like guys who are more vertical and work inside-out and drive the ball that way. It’s the exact same as golf and what creates the most stable and consistent platform there. So I wouldn’t have gone the Ryland route because I don’t like his swing. And I wouldn’t keep him now because he’s not getting results with a swing I don’t like.

As far as him being salvageable, if I were to try to do so, it would be with a complete rebuild of his swing, and that's not something you do at the NFL level when you're already struggling.
Great response, not great to hear your insightful and useful concerns about a Kicker the Patriots spent a 4th round pick on (this is where I try not to think about how Puka Nacua went 60 picks later.... ugh).

I can't evaluate Kickers, but this certainly doesn't seem promising. The good news is that, as is often the case, there seem to be a number of free agent veterans (Bullock, Joseph, Slye, old friend Nick Folk).
 

CoffeeNerdness

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There is where I am at. He was missing from the right hash no matter the weather or the circumstances. I highly doubt he'll be able to fix that, that is a fatal flaw.

I know he hit the kick in Denver but he was absolutely horrific the rest of the year and there's no reason to bring him back.
You keep saying this here, but it's not true.

Misses:
Four misses from the left, four misses from the right, two from the middle.

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=15T9pRWtQAQ


Makes:
Five left, four middle, seven right.
View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-ZtdcBkUPfw
 

IdiotKicker

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You keep saying this here, but it's not true.

Misses:
Four misses from the left, four misses from the right, two from the middle.

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=15T9pRWtQAQ


Makes:
Five left, four middle, seven right.
View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-ZtdcBkUPfw
Correct. And the other thing you'll notice is that the misses are all over the place. Good kickers consistently miss with the same type of miss. I know that sounds weird, but if your timing and motion are clean, you usually have the same little flaw that creeps up that causes you to miss the same way. When Mariano Rivera misses on his cutter, he misses inside because he knows his motion and what to do to not leave the ball over the middle of the plate. When Daniel Bard when through bouts of wildness, the ball was all over the place because he had no idea where it was going and his mechanics went to shit. It's the same thing with kicking. When I see a guy duck hooking some barely over the line, spraying some to the right, and everything in between, it immediately signals that it's not one problem, but a chain of issues that are cropping up, and a different part of the chain is broken each time. Kicking is all muscle memory and doing the same thing every time, and Ryland is doing very different things every time right now.
 

joe dokes

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Correct. And the other thing you'll notice is that the misses are all over the place. Good kickers consistently miss with the same type of miss. I know that sounds weird, but if your timing and motion are clean, you usually have the same little flaw that creeps up that causes you to miss the same way. When Mariano Rivera misses on his cutter, he misses inside because he knows his motion and what to do to not leave the ball over the middle of the plate. When Daniel Bard when through bouts of wildness, the ball was all over the place because he had no idea where it was going and his mechanics went to shit. It's the same thing with kicking. When I see a guy duck hooking some barely over the line, spraying some to the right, and everything in between, it immediately signals that it's not one problem, but a chain of issues that are cropping up, and a different part of the chain is broken each time. Kicking is all muscle memory and doing the same thing every time, and Ryland is doing very different things every time right now.
My amateur idea would be that the early misses got the rookie pressing so it all went to shit. (Of course, even that may signal larger issues, but that's way beyond my comprehension.)

One real question: In this post and your previous one you mentioned what the kicker "knows" (e.g., if the wind is *this*, in this stadium, I have to do *that*;) and also compared it to pitchers (Rivera) who "know" things. Is this a function of experience?
Given the seemingly large number of successful pro kickers who had tough starts -- from Vinatieri to Nick Lowery -- and eventually succeeded either with their original team or elsewhere, it *seems* that there could be something of a learning curve for the mine run of them (there are always exceptions), and that teams are just much less willing to let kickers "grow into the job" as they are with linemen, receivers or QBs.

We frequently hear that we shouldn't judge a hitter until he has had some number of professional plate appearances. Is there some number of kicks? Ryland tried fewer than 100 FGs in 5 college seasons.
Are any of these observations valid?
 

IdiotKicker

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My amateur idea would be that the early misses got the rookie pressing so it all went to shit. (Of course, even that may signal larger issues, but that's way beyond my comprehension.)

One real question: In this post and your previous one you mentioned what the kicker "knows" (e.g., if the wind is *this*, in this stadium, I have to do *that*;) and also compared it to pitchers (Rivera) who "know" things. Is this a function of experience?
Given the seemingly large number of successful pro kickers who had tough starts -- from Vinatieri to Nick Lowery -- and eventually succeeded either with their original team or elsewhere, it *seems* that there could be something of a learning curve for the mine run of them (there are always exceptions), and that teams are just much less willing to let kickers "grow into the job" as they are with linemen, receivers or QBs.

We frequently hear that we shouldn't judge a hitter until he has had some number of professional plate appearances. Is there some number of kicks? Ryland tried fewer than 100 FGs in 5 college seasons.
Are any of these observations valid?
Regarding career paths, we have to split things into pre-2015 and post-2015. The kids who become pro kickers in 2015 have been doing it FOREVER. They've been going to kicking camps since they were 10 (Chris Sailer's kicking camp started in 2003) and by the time they get to the NFL, they've kicked 50,000-70,000 balls in practice, often tutored by ex-NFL players. The kickers who came of age before then did not have this kind of training, and that's why the Vinatieri path to success was more common. There is absolutely no reason today why a rookie shouldn't come into the NFL and be a league-average kicker. Could it be a result of variance? Absolutely, because the sample sizes are small, but until you have an NFL track record, there's no need to accept variance because there are more NFL-caliber kickers today than there are spots.

Variance can also cut both ways. Ryland's first two years at Eastern Michigan saw him hit less than 75% of his kicks. Then he was around 82-85% his next 3 years. What if those are the outliers that show his peak? What if his true talent level is in the middle, somewhere around 80%, or his 77% career average in college? That's not a player worth a draft pick, and not a player worth keeping around, because you have heaps of kickers that can come in and hit at a league-average level. If you're drafting a kicker, the floor for performance has to be 80%, and you want the upside of a 90% guy, with the idea that you may get that occasionally, but you'll basically flutter around 84-86% most years. So it might be that we shouldn't judge a kicker, but we can because we can find someone better very easily from the level Ryland was at last year, without bringing any of that baggage into a new season.
 

joe dokes

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Regarding career paths, we have to split things into pre-2015 and post-2015. The kids who become pro kickers in 2015 have been doing it FOREVER. They've been going to kicking camps since they were 10 (Chris Sailer's kicking camp started in 2003) and by the time they get to the NFL, they've kicked 50,000-70,000 balls in practice, often tutored by ex-NFL players. The kickers who came of age before then did not have this kind of training, and that's why the Vinatieri path to success was more common. There is absolutely no reason today why a rookie shouldn't come into the NFL and be a league-average kicker. Could it be a result of variance? Absolutely, because the sample sizes are small, but until you have an NFL track record, there's no need to accept variance because there are more NFL-caliber kickers today than there are spots.

Variance can also cut both ways. Ryland's first two years at Eastern Michigan saw him hit less than 75% of his kicks. Then he was around 82-85% his next 3 years. What if those are the outliers that show his peak? What if his true talent level is in the middle, somewhere around 80%, or his 77% career average in college? That's not a player worth a draft pick, and not a player worth keeping around, because you have heaps of kickers that can come in and hit at a league-average level. If you're drafting a kicker, the floor for performance has to be 80%, and you want the upside of a 90% guy, with the idea that you may get that occasionally, but you'll basically flutter around 84-86% most years. So it might be that we shouldn't judge a kicker, but we can because we can find someone better very easily from the level Ryland was at last year, without bringing any of that baggage into a new season.
Very interesting. Thanks for the details.