The Atlanta Falcons are reportedly bringing in kicker Matt Bryant for a tryout.
Coy Wire, a correspondent for CNN and Headline News, first reported the news when he tweeted Thursday that his “former teammate Matt Bryant tells me he will be in Atlanta to try out with the Falcons” on Friday. Wire played nine seasons in the NFL, six with the Buffalo Bills and his final three here in Atlanta with the Falcons.
Bryant, 44, parted ways with the team during the offseason. He had signed with the Falcons prior to the 2009 season and left Atlanta as the leading scorer in franchise history with 1,122 points. His 158 points in 2016 is a Falcons single-season record.
The reason why the Falcons are bringing Bryant in for a tryout and signed Blair Walsh on Saturday is because of Giorgio Tavecchio’s recent struggles. Despite a perfect showing while filling in for Bryant during the 2018 season – he was 5-for-5 on field goals attempts and 8-for-8 on extra points – Tavecchio has struggled this preseason.
Tavecchio is 4-of-8 on field goal attempts this preseason, missing from 54, 52, 52 and 39 yards out. The most recent miss came Thursday night during the first quarter of Falcons preseason game against the Redskins. The 39-yard attempt sailed wide left.
After the game Tavecchio said “this team deserves better.”
On Sunday, Falcons coach Dan Quinn said that it was now an open competition at kicker.
“Always, always," Quinn said. "For sure, yeah."
Quinn also noted that the Falcons worked out three kickers – Elliot Fry, Younghoe Koo and Walsh – and also discussed the possibility of bringing Bryant in. They settled on Walsh, but are apparently still weighing all of their options.
"Both good guys, all good workouts, and as we’re going through it, thanks to the personnel department," Quinn said. "Always kind of digging and looking at it and seeing if there are ways to improve and challenge. That’s where we’re at.”
Walsh, 29, is a former Georgia Bulldog and All-Pro kicker who was drafted by the Minnesota Vikings in the sixth round of the 2012 NFL Draft. He spent five seasons with the Vikings, converting 84.2 percent of his field goals and 94.5 percent of his extra-point attempts.
Walsh was last with the Seattle Seahawks in 2017, where he made 72.4 percent of his field goal tries.
The Falcons take on the Jacksonville Jaguars on Thursday night and then must trim their roster down to the league-mandated 53 by 4 p.m. ET on Saturday.