Josh Scobee (Getty Images)
The term elite is often overused in the NFL. “Elite” teams seemingly change from week to week, and some players are deemed elite after just a few great games. The Jaguars may have an elite player on their roster, and it’s not quarterback David Garrard or defensive tackle John Henderson, or even running back Fred Taylor. It’s kicker Josh Scobee.
When the Jaguars selected Josh Scobee in the fifth-round of the 2004 draft, they hoped that he would be a long-term solution at the kicker position. After a rough start in training camp and preseason, Scobee won the job as a rookie and was serviceable. Through his first three seasons, Scobee was considered to have one of the strongest legs in the NFL, but was inconsistent from 40 yards or longer.
Last season, the Jaguars kicker hurt his leg in warm-ups prior to the season opener and the Jaguars fell to the Tennessee Titans 13-10, a game they could’ve easily won if Scobee was healthy. Josh missed half of the 2007 season, and his job hung in the balance as his fill-in, veteran John Carney made kick after kick for the team. The Jaguars ultimately decided to part ways with Carney when Scobee became healthy, a move that was second-guessed by many.
The move to keep Scobee is now paying dividends for the Jaguars as Josh has connected on 10 of his 11 field goal attempts this season, including back-to-back game winners over the Indianapolis Colts and Houston Texans to get the team back to a .500 record. Scobee’s 51-yard field goal to beat Indianapolis last week earned him AFC Special Teams Player of the Week honors.
“It is exciting,” Scobee said about being the player of the week. “It is not often that it happens so it is fun to get the individual award but it is nice when the team gets awards too. So coming off a big win like that is pretty special.”
The Jaguars kicker has transformed himself from an average NFL kicker to one of the game’s most clutch, and someone the team has the utmost confidence in.
“He’s got a strong leg but he’s become more than just a power kick-off guy,” Jaguars head coach Jack Del Rio said of kicker Josh Scobee. “He’s become a real reliable field goal kicker as well, he’s been able to execute some trick things and so he’s becoming a complete kicker. That happens with seasoning and so we’re really happy for him. What a great job. Back to back huge moments in the ballgame and to be able to nail it for us, that gives us a lift for sure.”
Scobee is not only a marksman on long distance field goals, but his leg strength is certainly a weapon for the Jaguars on kickoffs, as the Jaguars allow the fewest yards per return in the NFL.
“I don’t feel any stronger than I did in the past, I am just hitting the ball a little cleaner,” Scobee said as he explained his increased kickoff distance. “That happens when you have a strong leg, and most kickers can say that, if you hit a clean ball, then the ball should go far.”
Josh Scobee has been the Jaguars ultimate special teams weapon, as his strong kickoff leg and clutch field goals have propelled his Jacksonville team back from the abyss of an 0-2 start to right in the thick of the playoffs at 2-2. At this point in the year Scobee is as good as any kicker in the NFL and if he keeps it up, he may earn a trip to Hawaii.
Charlie Bernstein is the Editor-in-Chief of Sports Media Interactive, covering multiple teams in the National Football League, NCAA, and National Basketball Association. Charlie is a regular syndicated contributor to FoxSports and Sirius NFL Radio, and has been featured on the NFL Network. Charlie is also a member of the Pro Football Writers of America. Feel free to contact him -HERE- with questions or comments.
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