FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. – On Monday morning the Falcons announced they had signed kicker Giorgio Tavecchio, likely leading some fans to wonder whether there was something wrong with Matt Bryant.
Bryant, the Falcons' all-time leading scorer, was held out of the first two preseason games but did kick in the third exhibition game against the Jaguars. During his Monday press conference, Falcons coach Dan Quinn explained the move had nothing to do with Bryant but rather was something they had been planning on doing.
"This was something that we had planned for a week or two," Quinn said. "We thought this would be a chance to get a look at him. He did an excellent job in the workout with us a few weeks ago, so we wanted to get a chance to see him in the game."
According to Michael Gehlken of the Las Vegas Review-Journal the Falcons worked out Tavecchio on Aug. 7, and it's clear they liked what they saw from the former Oakland Raiders kicker.
Tavecchio, 28, was released by the Raiders earlier this offseason after appearing in 16 games for Oakland in 2017. In his lone NFL season, Tavecchio made 16 of his 21 field goal attempts, including three from 50-plus yards, and 33 of his 34 extra point attempts.
Despite missing the first two games, Bryant was sharp for the Falcons in his preseason debut. Bryant made a 47-yard field goal on his first attempt of the year, and he followed that up with a 33-yard field goal shortly before halftime.
"It was good to see Matt kick," Quinn said. "He won't kick this Thursday, so we thought this would be the perfect [opportunity] for Giorgio to come in."