May 30, 2020

Analysis: Succop still doesn’t appear 100 percent healthy

Analysis: Succop still doesn’t appear 100 percent healthy

The Tennessee Titans have been scoring points by the bushel over the past month, but there is one element that still should be cause for concern as the team tries to secure a playoff berth over the season’s final three weeks.
The kicking situation, which has been an issue all season long, is something the Titans hope will solve itself over the final three games.
Ryan Succop, the Titans reliable veteran kicker, has made just 1 of 5 field goals since coming off injured reserve, and given the signs of what has been going on, it appears evident that Succop is not nearly 100 percent.
According to league sources, the Titans worked out other kickers this week, including recently cut Cowboys kicker Brett Maher, but elected not to sign one.
In the off-season Succop tweaked his knee in his kicking leg, apparently in the weight room, and had to undergo surgery. However, after seeing a surgeon in Miami and having a procedure done, complications arose, and Succop began training camp on the physically unable to perform list. The Titans activated him onto the 53-man roster, but then placed him on injured reserve before the season opener against Cleveland.
The reason given was that Succop’s leg strength had not returned and he would need time to rehab and build strength in the leg.
After eight games on the shelf, where the Titans went through Cairo Santos and Cody Parkey as their kickers, the Titans activated Succop from injured reserve.
In his first game back, Succop missed from 43, 56 and 44 yards. After making a 31-yarder at Indianapolis two weeks ago, Succop hit the upright in Oakland from 42 yards out.
Succop does not appear on the Titans injury report. But that isn’t always as telling as it might seem. The injury report is for players who have an injury that might prevent them from playing on Sunday. It doesn’t take a lot to see that something is not quite right yet with Succop since he came back from the injury. The lack of leg strength has limited his range severely, and it looks as though he is not able to drive through the ball on his follow-through the way he has in the past.
Succop is 33 years old, which is still relatively young for a kicker. Most kickers don’t even stick on a roster until they reach their mid-20s. The 56-yard attempt aside, the alarming part of the equation is that Succop is not able to consistently do what he has always done, which is be deadly accurate on moderate range field goals. Just a couple of years ago, he set the NFL record for most consecutive field goals made from inside 50 yards. His play was so good that the Titans rewarded him with an extension that still has three more years to run.
Titans coach Mike Vrabel has remained coy on the topic when asked about Succop’s situation.
“I think Ryan’s really done a pretty good job. I wouldn’t like to hit the crossbar, or hit the post on the one, but we’ll keep working Ryan and Ryan will keep working through,” Vrabel said when asked Monday. “We’ve got big Ryan (Santoso) kicking off for us right now, so really just want to focus on Ryan (Succop), his process and his accuracy as it relates to making those kicks that we need him to make.”
Vrabel indicated that a number of factors played into Sunday’s miss in Oakland.
“I’m not going to try to help Ryan, he just needs to put a good swing on it, trust that he’s made a lot of kicks in this league and he’ll continue to make kicks for us. But it is the protection, it’s the hold. … it’s always not just the one thing. Sometimes the protections a little leaky, or the snaps a little low. We just have to clean that process up and take advantage of all those scoring opportunities that we get.”
Still, if he is completely healthy and able to perform his duties the way he has in the past, why would the Titans sign an extra kicker in Santoso a couple of weeks ago just to handle kickoffs and to get more touchbacks?
Something seems amiss with a guy who has in his Titans career been one of the team’s most reliable performers.

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