On Wednesday, Kansas City Chiefs placekicker Harrison Butker revealed that he is still not 100% recovered from his injury. Speaking to the media on Thursday, special-teams coordinator Dave Toub followed up on his kicker’s remarks.
“I’m not concerned about Butker,” Toub stated matter-of-factly. “He’s got a lot of pelts on the wall for us. He’s won football games. He’s a Super Bowl winner. He’s a guy that I know is going to bounce back from this little dip right now that he’s had.”
Before this season, Butker has been a model of consistency for the Chiefs. In his first five seasons with the team, he was 146-for-162 on field goal attempts — a 90.1% conversion rate.
However, the ankle injury he sustained in Week 1 caused Butker to miss the next four games before making his return in Week 6 against the Buffalo Bills. Since then, Butker has had several inconsistent performances by his lofty standards, missing three field goals — as well as an extra point — on 16 opportunities. Despite this, Toub still has the ultimate confidence in his kicker — something that goes a long way in what is arguably the most pressure-filled job in all of sports.
“He’s coming off the injury, he mentioned that,” noted Toub. “Those are all things that I know he’s going to be better in [with] the next kick. He’s going to make the next kick. He’s going to get on a streak — and he’s going to be good for us down the road. We have full confidence in Harrison.”
On Wednesday, Butker said the power is still there on his kicks. But he went on to explain that his body isn’t always doing what his mind asks it to do — which has led to his inconsistency. To remedy this, Toub has opted to go with a simple solution: reps, reps and more reps.
“What we did as a coach was increase his reps for the individual drills,” noted Toub. “We increase them by three or four reps with the team drill each day. So hopefully, that will help him a little bit as far as getting consistency.
“We don’t need to reinvent the wheel with the guy. He knows what he’s doing — and he knows why; if he misses one, he knows exactly what he did. So that’s him figuring that out — and what the operation [is] and the hold and everything. [It’s] just becoming more consistent in practice and carrying it over in games.“
Meanwhile, Matthew Wright — one of Butker’s replacements — was signed from the Chiefs’ practice squad by the Pittsburgh Steelers on Wednesday. He performed admirably in Butker’s absence — even setting a franchise record for the longest field goal, which Butker broke upon his return a week later.
“It’s just he was a great kid,” said Toub of the departed placekicker. “He was good in practice — and he was fun to be around.
“Obviously, we wanted to make sure Butker was getting back — and when you have that many spots on the practice squad, it’s really a luxury to have a guy like that. We usually don’t — but he was such a good kid, we kept him around. It was good for him, because he learned a lot from Butker. He talked about how he needed to improve his kickoffs. Butker really helped him [with] his technique on that.”
In his short time in Kansas City, Wright made a lasting impact on the team — which helped him find another job in the league.
“I mean, hopefully he has a lot of success,” said Toub. “He’s a really good kid, and I think Pittsburgh picked up the ‘right’ guy — no pun intended.”