Steelers kicker Suisham remains perfect this season
Some kickers point to the goal posts with one hand, and others point with two.
Others swear by their life-long rituals before a kick, and others have a laundry list of helpers to make things go right and even a longer list when they don't.
Not Steelers kicker Shaun Suisham. He doesn't have a kicking coach — never did, never will.
He said he doesn't believe in psychologists or any “kicking guru” to help him out of slumps.
For Suisham, it's not much harder than: ‘See the ball, kick the ball.'
“Now don't get me wrong. There's an awful lot of preparation that goes into that mentality,” Suisham said. “Less is a lot more sometimes at my position. Over the years, it has evolved into that belief. I don't concern myself with a lot of things that don't help me be successful.”
Suisham's ability was questioned as little as four years ago.
He was an 80 percent accurate kicker with the Redskins over a four-year span before getting cut after missing a short game-winning field goal against the Saints in 2009. It was the second time in three games a missed field goal cost the Redskins a victory.
Suisham took the setback in stride.
“My job as a kicker in the NFL comes with that,” Suisham said. “It is the best job in the world when you are making your kicks, and when you miss a kick, you become vulnerable to a change.”
Luckily, Suisham hasn't been missing many lately. Suisham has yet to miss this year (14 of 14), including his second consecutive four-field goal game last week against the Ravens. His 42-yarder as time expired was his ninth career game-winner.
“He is definitely kicking the best I've ever seen,” long snapper Greg Warren said.
Dating to the 2010 regular-season finale, Suisham has made 46 of his last 49 field goals, which is a 94 percent clip.
“We try to focus on every kick, one kick at a time,” holder Zoltan Mesko said. “It is not like we are looking at the big picture. You can't rely on the past to do it in the present.”
The minimalist attitude is not just a gimmick, either.
“It's true,” Warren said. “He is able to worry just about the kick he is doing just himself, and he blocks out all the other external factors such as the snap, the hold, the protection, the wind, the field. He is able to focus on himself and his ability.”
Suisham already is the most accurate kicker in Steelers' history (82.5 percent) and has been an invaluable asset for the struggling red-zone offense. Suisham has accounted for 51 points this year while the rest of the offense has been responsible for 54.
“The problem is we maybe get too comfortable with it,” quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said. “We need to start thinking he's going to miss or something, even though we don't want him to because we need to score touchdowns.”
Suisham added: “I'd be more than happy just kicking extra points.”
Mark Kaboly is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @MarkKaboly_Trib.
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