NFL's Woebegon Kickers: Houston, Carolina Originals No Longer Making The Cut

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NFL's Woebegon Kickers: Houston, Carolina Originals No Longer Making The Cut
David Sherman/Getty Images

John Kasay and Kris Brown, the last original members of their respective franchises, are having their worst years to date.

A kicker can be the life or death of a team, sending their projectiles towards the yellow bars for last-minute victories or heart-wrenching defeats. These gentleman have felt their share of ups and downs, some more important than others.

The Texans' Kris Brown has felt his woes of late, missing a game-winner against the undefeated Indianapolis Colts last week and doing the same on Monday against the Tennesse Titans.

John Kasay's great moment of shame is unforgettable for Carolina Panthers fans back in 2003. It was late in the fourth quarter in, arguably, one of the greatest Super Bowls ever. The Panthers were trying to add an exclamation point to a season primarily made up of games won by three points or less.

Delhomme and the boys had fought the odds and driven down the field against a stellar Patriots defense and were ready to make the stop to seal the deal. All that was needed was a decent kickoff by Kasay to put the Patriots in containable field position.

Instead, Kasay kicked the ball out of bounds, giving Tom Brady and his electric offense the ball at their 40 yard line.

That was all the leverage they needed and they took full advantage, allowing Adam Vinatieri the chance to vault the game-winning field goal as the clock ticked out its final seconds.

Every Panthers fan's heart broke that night. While the blame rests on the entire team, it's hard to ignore the last-minute mistake that cost us our ring.

All has been forgiven since then, for the most part. Kasay has since earned the reputation of being one of the most accurate kickers in the league even though his career make percentage sits four points behind the league average at 53 percent.   

Brown has also enjoyed a career of great kicks with an overall make percentage of 60 percent. He kicked 25-plus field goals in the 2007 and 2008 season, finishing both years with a field goal percentage over 85 percent.

However glorifying their careers have been thus far, both kickers are having their least accurate year ever. Kasay is squeezing what he can out of the tube with eleven three-pointers and a field goal percentage of 73.3.

Brown is feeling his pain with an equal eleven field goals and a rating of 64.7 percent. To be fair, though, the 60 points he's contributed is 26 percent of his team's total points while Kasay's 53 is 23 percent of Carolina's total.

Kasay hasn't made a field goal over 50 yards this year but the Carolina coaching staff has put him in that situation on three seperate occasions.  Kasay's lack of power isn't a news update, though.  The Panthers picked up Rhys Lloyd to give a power boost to kickoffs but they haven't yet utilized him in the field goal package.

On the flip side, Kris Brown is perfect beyond the fifty-yard line but seems to struggle more when he is under pressure rather than from a specific spot on the field. 

I don't think either franchise is ready to part ways with their original members.  Kasay recently signed a contract extension that has him in Carolina until 2012 and Brown has also recently extended his own contract until 2013. 

That being said, there are still holes that need to be filled. The first step is for the coaching staff to assess the strenghts and weaknesses of their players and adjust the situations they put them in accordingly.

The responsibility rests on the players themselves to take charge of their position, though, and I believe that both players have the sufficient skills and heart needed to do just that. 

Brown has a chance to redeem himself this week when the Texans face off against the Colts again.  Houston has struggled to punch it in when they get in the red zone so he will have his opportunities, let's just see if he capitalizes.

Kasay also has a chance to look good this week as the Panthers face off against the Jets in New York.  Not only does Kasay do exceptionally well in other teams' stadiums, he has only missed one field goal in all of his career games against New York. 

As a Panthers fan myself, I just hope the trend continues.

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