Reed hopes to put recent misses behind him
Jeff Reed keeps thinking about missing a total of three field goals against Baltimore and New Orleans in the Steelers' only two losses this season.
"I'm ready to get back on track," said Reed, who has converted 12 of 17 field goal attempts in 2010. "It's like great game, average game; great game, average game. And it's never really been like that."
Reed carried an 83.3 percent field-goal conversion rate (189 of 227) into this season.
Now in his ninth year, Reed, along with Cleveland's Phil Dawson — who's in his 12th season with the Browns — are rare. They're kickers who have played all or the majority of their careers with one team.
"It's weird playing Cincinnati, and Shayne Graham's not their kicker," Reed said of his long-time rival, who missed two field goals in the Bengals' wild card playoff loss to the New York Jets and was released by Baltimore prior to the start of this season. "And when Matt Stover's not in Baltimore, it's different."
Other kickers who have played several years with the same team include Philadelphia's David Akers (12 seasons), Oakland's Sebastian Janikowski (11), San Diego's Nate Kaeding (seven) and Chicago's Robbie Gould (six).
"It's tough to do that anywhere, no matter if you're kicking in a dome, in great weather or bad weather," Reed said. "I cherish it, because I'm not the strongest kicker in the league, but I like to be consistent. You know what you're getting when you have me on your team. I think consistency speaks louder than hitting a 55-yard field goal here and there.
"If you make the kicks you're supposed to make, you can stay around the league for a long time."
Several kickers on NFL rosters this season have played with other teams before joining their current squad, including Minnesota's Ryan Longwell, formerly with Green Bay; Seattle's Olindo Mare (Miami), Houston's Neil Rackers (Arizona), St. Louis' Josh Brown (Houston), Cincinnati's Mike Nugent (New York Jets) and the Jets' Nick Folk (Dallas).
Despite kicking the winning field goal for New Orleans in last year's NFC Championship Game, Garrett Hartley saw his job status threatened after he missed a field goal in overtime against Atlanta and the Saints countered by adding veteran John Carney.
Carney kicked three field goals in a win over Carolina, but the Saints released him after he missed a 29-yard field goal in a loss to Arizona.
"That's what great about the Steelers. They hire you and stick behind you because they know you're capable," Reed said. "They also know you're not perfect. There's some organizations ... Dallas ... as a rookie, Nick Folk went to the Pro Bowl (in 2007). Then he struggled. Instead of sticking with him, they cut him. They've been through a series of kickers, and he's doing great with New York."
Reed said he has recovered mentally after missing 49- and 45-yard field goals in the third quarter of a 17-14 loss to Baltimore on Oct. 3. He's trying not to dwell on missing a 51-yarder in a 20-10 loss at New Orleans this past Sunday.
"I think, initially, I was putting too much pressure on myself because I felt like I had to be perfect to get what I wanted," said Reed, who expressed his frustration in training camp on not signing a new contract entering the final year of his current deal. "If I have a (new) five-year deal going into this year and I'm 12 for 17, I'm not as worried about it as being in your last year trying to prove yourself.
"At the same time, I'm not happy with my stats. But last week was last week. I go from hitting the game-winning (19-yard field goal) at Miami (two weeks ago) to missing a 51-yarder that could have changed the game," Reed said. "It's been a bit of an up and down season. Out of the five kicks I've missed, four of them I hit perfect."Additional Information:
Starting NFL kickers who played with a different team last season:
Neil Rackers, Texans : Last season • Cardinals
Jay Feely, Cardinals : Last season • Jets
Nick Folk, Jets : Last season • Cowboys
Mike Nugent, Bengals : Last season • Cardinals, Buccaneers