Colts Sticking With Adam Vinatieri At Kicker
Colts Sticking With Adam Vinatieri At Kicker
Joe Robbins | Getty Images
INDIANAPOLIS – Amidst a stretch that would cost just about every other kicker their job, Adam Vinatieri will continue to kick for the Indianapolis Colts.
No retirement, once the emotions of Sunday’s two missed extra points settled.
No cutting of the future Hall of Famer.
Vinny will be kicking for the Colts in his 386th career game on Sunday afternoon inside of Lucas Oil Stadium.
“Just want to make this clear, Adam is our kicker,” Frank Reich said during his weekly Monday conference call. “Like I said (Sunday), we have zero concern. Not only is he our kicker, he’s an instrumental leader on our team. When we talk about toughness and we are all about as a team and a program, there’s probably no one who epitomizes that more than Adam.”
While Reich still won’t publicly admit the concern, Jim Irsay definitely is.
The Owner expressed worry on Sunday, after the Colts’ comeback victory, of the current issues that Vinny is having with a 3-of-8 start to the 2019 season.
But Reich, like he has done throughout the past two weeks, isn’t wavering from his stance.
On Monday, Reich spoke with Vinatieri, but the head coach wasn’t revealing the details of that conversation. Reich said Vinatieri would meet with the media on Tuesday (the kicker didn’t talk after Sunday’s game or on Monday), before the Colts return to practice this Wednesday.
Reich also deferred to Chris Ballard when asked if the Colts would bring in kickers to work out this week.
The illustrious career of Vinatieri has given the decorated kicker a longer leash with how the Colts are handling this situation, Reich said.
“There’s high standards for every person on our team, but we all understand that there are high standards, but to say that they are equally applied to all people is probably not realistic, right?” the head coach said.
“The more games the guy has played, the more he’s done, you get a little more latitude. It would be the same thing with a coach. As a second-year coach, I’m not going to get as much latitude as a guy who has been a 20-year head coach and won 100 games. That’s just natural.”
By saying that, Reich and Chris Ballard have created different criteria throughout the Colts locker room.
A guy that has now missed 7 kicks inside of 35 yards (4 right and 3 left) over his past 5 games is keeping his job.
Such failing, at virtually any other position, would cost a player his job, or have him be benched.
“Adam will figure it out,” Reich said on Monday. “We have the confidence and belief that he will figure it out. He’ll do what he needs to do.
“Has it been two weeks of subpar? Yes. Is it catastrophic? No. To me, it’s far from catastrophic. This is the NFL. Some of the most elite players that I’ve ever seen or played with or coached with, I’ve seen them have two bad games back-to-back. That’s just the way I see it.”
Would a last-second field goal by the Titans yesterday, meaning Vinatieri would have cost the Colts an 0-2 start to the season, have altered how the Colts are thinking about this situation?
Kicking inside of the friendly confines of Lucas Oil Stadium this Sunday should help Vinny try and get out of his slump.
Reich hasn’t seen any sign of injury for Vinny that would impact his performance, to the degree of this nightmare-ish start to 2019.
“I know he continues to get a lot of work on his body,” Reich said on Monday. “I think he continues to get treatment on the knee. I don’t see it as an issue. I saw him kick (last) Wednesday and on Friday, and physically he’s still a powerhouse. I’m sure he’s dealing with things, like I’m sure a lot of the players are, but I think physically he’s still the same power."
And Reich is adamant that the struggles from Vinny will have zero influence on the head coach/play caller’s decision making.
“We are always going to make the call at the time that gives us the best chance to win,” Reich says. “In a strange way before that game started yesterday, I was kind of hoping that it came down to a 60-yard field goal to win the game. I’m hoping that’s going to happen one of these games.
“There’s nobody else I would trust than Adam Vinatieri (pause), that doesn’t mean he’s going to make every kick. Shoot, he’s human. The greatest players at every position still make mistakes, still throw interceptions. We are all human. But still, no one I would trust more.”
Jim Irsay this year: "We have to demand more from everyone in this organization and we can’t have any weak links. End of story. Period. If there are, then we have to make changes." Not sure how the #Colts can view their kicker situation as anything but a ‘weak link’ right now. — Kevin Bowen (@KBowen1070) September 16, 2019
Jim Irsay this year:
"We have to demand more from everyone in this organization and we can’t have any weak links. End of story. Period. If there are, then we have to make changes."
Not sure how the #Colts can view their kicker situation as anything but a ‘weak link’ right now.
— Kevin Bowen (@KBowen1070) September 16, 2019