Keep or Kick, Vol. 2 - Josh Brown

Through the month of February, Seahawks.NET will be taking an in-depth look at the future prospects of every 2006 Seahawks player who currently enjoys Restricted or Unrestricted Free Agent status. In our second installment of "Keep or Kick?", Dylan Johnson explores the case for and against kicker Josh Brown.

Josh Brown
Kicker – 6’-0”, 202 lbs.
2007 Status: Unrestricted Free Agent
2007 Age: 28
2007 Service: 5 years

Year

Team

G

1-19

20-29

30-39

40-49

50+

Tot

Lg

Blk

Pct

XP

XPG

Pct

2006

Seattle Seahawks

16

0-0

10-10

5-7

7-9

3-5

25-31

54

3

80.6

36-36

36

100.0

CAREER

64

1-1

27-27

27-32

23-34

10-17

88-111

58

5

79.3

180-181

180

99.4

Josh Brown was drafted by the Seahawks in the 7th round of the 2003 draft (222 nd overall) and was the only kicker taken in the 2003 draft. He set a Seahawks rookie scoring record with 114 points that year and broke the team record for Field Goal percentage in 2004 with 92%. In addition, Josh owns or has tied many team records including most 50-yard FG made in a season (5), most 50 yard FG made in a game (2), longest FG (58), and most consecutive FG (16).

DENVER - DECEMBER 3: Kicker Josh Brown #3 of the Seattle Seahawks celebrates his field goal kick during the game against the Denver Broncos on December 3, 2006 at Invesco Field at Mile High in Denver, Colorado. The Seahawks defeated the Broncos, 23-20. (Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images)

2006 started off as an unmitigated disaster for Brown, when the Detroit Lions, exploiting an injury to long-snapper J.P. Darche, blocked his first two FG attempts. Displaying the kind of chutzpah that would define his season, Brown rebounded by kicking three more field goals in the game, including the game winner as time expired. By the time of the home-opener next week, the Seahawks learned that Darche was out for the season, and had his first attempt in Seattle blocked, bringing his season stats to 3-6 with three blocks after just two games.

Things really turned around for Brown in Week 6 at St. Louis. Brown missed his first attempt of the game, doinking a 34 yarder of the left upright, but redeemed himself by booting two 49 yard FGs and one 54 yard game-winner as time expired. Throughout the rest of the season, Brown would miss just two more, ironically in his first two attempts during the game at Denver where he would eventually tie the NFL record for most game-winning FGs in a season. In fact, all of Brown’s misses and blocked kicks were during his first attempts of the game, and in three of the four games where he missed, he would wind up kicking the game winner (@ Detroit, @ St. Louis and @ Denver).

The knock on Josh Brown over the course of his career in the NFL has been the length of his kickoffs and Josh has worked hard in every offseason to correct that shortcoming, improving his distance every year. In 2006, he reached the end zone on 34 of 78 non-squib kickoffs and the average kick was fielded at the three yard line, which was much better than in his previous three seasons. In addition, Brown was perfect on extra point attempts this and added a new wrinkle to his repertoire by quick-kicking twice this year instead of attempting a long field goal, both times pinning the opposition deep in their own territory.

The case for: Brown is accurate from deep yardage, and that’s a rare traitHis ability to make long kicks means that crossing the opponent’s 35-yard line gives the Seahawks a solid chance at coming away with points, the importance of which cannot be overstated when it comes to 4 th quarter and/or overtime drives in close games. Josh was perfect with the game on the line in 2006, displaying the kind of immunity to pressure that is so vital to a successful kicking game. In previous seasons, kickoff length would have appeared in the “case against” column but in 2006 43.6% of all of Brown’s non-squib kickoffs went into the endzone, a huge improvement over the last few years.

The case against: Some people say that kickers are interchangeable and that no kicker should get a big contract. Some people are stupid. The only possible downside to signing Josh Brown is having a few dopes in talk radio or on the internet accuse the front office of overpaying for a kicker. Here’s why they’re wrong: the winds that often buffet Qwest Field can make the Seahawks home stadium a tricky place to kick in, just ask Jay Feeley. Josh Brown has more experience on the field than anyone else in the world and that makes him more valuable to the Seahawks than to any other team.

Keep or kick? Keep, and this one’s a no-brainer. Josh Brown trails only Adam Vinatieri for “clutchitude” amongst kickers. Brown overcame a horrific beginning of the year to bounce back and tie the NFL record for most game winning field goals in a season, displaying the short memory and intestinal fortitude that every coach dreams of seeing from their kicker. He worked on the one area of his game that was lacking (kickoff distance) and showed a marked improvement there. He’s not a liability in kickoff coverage, showing a willingness to make touchdown-saving tackles (which, given the sad state of Seattle coverage teams, is a huge plus). Signing Brown should be an A-1 priority for this franchise, because without Josh Brown, the Seahawks could have easily been 5-11 in 2007, a fact not lost on fans of the team, some of whom have started a petition (http://www.petitiononline.com/resignjb/petition.html) demanding that the front office re-sign Brown to a long term deal. And, yes, you’ll find me at number 62 on that list.

Note: Click here for an Excel spreadsheet detailing Brown's 2006 kickoffs and Seattle's kick coverage.


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