NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The Tennessee Titans are having one of the NFL’s worst seasons kicking field goals in decades, and now they’re turning to their fifth kicker this season.
The Titans placed veteran Ryan Succop on injured reserve Wednesday for the second time this season and signed Greg Joseph off Carolina’s practice squad a day after waiving kicker Ryan Santoso after he struggled on kickoffs.
“So Greg’s our kicker, and that’s how we’re going to move going forward,” Titans coach Mike Vrabel said.
Tennessee ranks last in the NFL in field goal percentage at 44.4%, having made only 8 of 18 field goals, with three different kickers this season. This is a franchise that had used only five different kickers over the previous 22 seasons in Tennessee.
That’s 22.3 percentage points lower than the Jets, who rank 31st in the NFL this season connecting on 66.7% of their field goals. With two games left, the Titans are set for worst season since 1983 when New England finished at 40.9% followed by Tampa Bay at 41.7% and Bills at 42.3%, according to ESPN Stats and Info.
The Titans’ kicking issues have cost them in at least two games this season as Tennessee (8-6) chases a playoff berth.
Succop had a 45-yard field goal blocked in Sunday’s 24-21 loss to Houston as Tennessee missed a chance to take the lead in the AFC South with two games to play. Succop was 1 of 6 on field goals since returning from injured reserve. He spent the first eight weeks on injured reserve trying to heal from offseason surgery on his right kicking leg.
The Titans signed Succop to a five-year contract in 2018, and the 33-year-old kicker remains under contract through 2022. He came into this season making 83.6 percent of field goals in his career.
“Whenever Ryan’s able to come off injured reserve and starts to kick again then we’ll update you on that,” Vrabel said.
Joseph, a native of South Africa, was signed by Miami as a college free agent out of Florida Atlantic where he hit 70% of his field goal attempts. He was waived by Miami after training camp, and he spent 14 games with Cleveland last season. He was 17 of 20 on field goal attempts, including all 11 inside 40 yards.
He joins Succop, Cairo Santos, Cody Parkey and Santoso who have kicked for Tennessee this season. Santos missed a 45-yard field goal in the fourth quarter of a 19-17 loss to Indianapolis in Week 2, then missed three field goals and had a fourth blocked in a 14-7 loss to Buffalo on Oct. 6. Succop missed his first three field goals after being activated off injured reserve.
Being a kicker, yes Joseph noticed what was going on in Tennessee this season before his agent called him Tuesday with news the Titans had signed him.
“I don’t wish ill on any kicker ever, but yeah I mean you have to be,” Joseph said. “Part of my job is to be aware of what’s going on and all that fun stuff. Yeah, I was just staying ready, doing my part.”
Joseph will work with Pro Bowl punter Brett Kern, who holds on field goals, and long snapper Beau Brinkley, a Pro Bowl alternate. Joseph said he’s watched plenty of tape on Kern after playing with punter Dustin Colquitt, who appreciates Kern as a punter.
“We’ve already talked kind of like how he likes his tilt, how he likes his lean,” Kern said of Joseph. “Just trust us. Beau and I have been working together for a long time. We got two days of practice to get used to each other, acclimated to each other. Be there, encourage him.”
NOTES: Pro Bowl RB Derrick Henry (left hamstring) was limited after not practicing all last week. CB Adoree’ Jackson also returned to practice after missing the past two weeks with an injured foot. WRs Corey Davis (ankle) and Kalif Raymond (knee) were limited. WR Adam Humphries (ankle) did not practice. … The Titans also promoted linebacker Nigel Harris from the practice squad and added wide receiver Trevion Thompson to the practice squad.
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