Blair Walsh to compete with Giorgio Tavecchio for kicker job, says Dan Quinn

The Atlanta Falcons have a new position battle brewing at kicker between Giorgio Tavecchio and Blair Walsh.

The developing uncertainty at this spot is not something coach Dan Quinn had expected, given Atlanta has just one preseason game to go before the regular season begins, but Tavecchio’s recent struggles prompted the Falcons to make a move.

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“We did bring in a few kickers yesterday to work out and quite honestly we hoped we wouldn’t be in that spot, but like all positions, we’ve missed the mark in terms of where we would like to be right now,” Quinn said. “So, we thought it was appropriate to take a look at some other kickers as we’re going through it.”

Tavecchio is 4-of-8 in the preseason and hasn’t made a field goal since Atlanta’s second preseason game against Miami. He has missed from distances of 54, 52, 52 and 39 yards away.

Following the loss to the Redskins, Tavecchio said he was “disappointed” in his recent performance. Tavecchio was a perfect 5-for-5 in his first season with the Falcons filling in for an injured Matt Bryant in the 2018 season.

The Falcons worked out three kickers following the game including Elliott Fry and Younghoe Koo and Walsh proved to be the most accurate. Quinn said they did discuss Matt Bryant but ultimately didn’t bring him in for the workout.

Walsh spent his first five seasons in the league kicking for the Minnesota Vikings converting 84.2 percent of his field goals and 94.5 percent of his extra-point attempts. His most recent stint came in 2017 when he kicked for the Seattle Seahawks, where he made 72.4 percent of his field goal attempts.

While sitting the year out in 2018, Walsh said although “being on the street is never fun” it gave him a chance to reflect on his career and how he could improve if he were to be given another chance.

The Falcons gave him the chance to come in and compete again and he’s ready to make the most of it.

“I just re-assessed where I was at physically and mentally as a kicker,” Walsh said of how he spent the 2018 season. “I made some changes, started working more with a sports performance coach, put about 10 pounds on. I feel good, feel like I’m hitting the ball strong and have a little bit of a renewed attitude. I’ve always been a hard worker and someone who is committed to his craft, being out of the league for a year really makes you even hungrier to come back and prove to yourself and others that you can still be a good kicker in this league.”

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