Younghoe Koo knows job security is fleeting as a kicker in the NFL. He’s already been burned by a bad stretch of kicks once in his career.
It should come as no surprise Koo is going to have to battle for his job once again. Falcons coach Dan Quinn said Tuesday the team might fill its final open roster spot with a kicker to push Koo in 2020.
“We are still definitely considering adding a kicker into that spot,” Quinn said, via the Atlanta Journal Constitution. “You could imagine that some of those decisions involve workouts and things that aren’t at this space.”
A brush with adversity won’t be new to Koo, who was a promising prospect in 2017 before spiraling in a month’s time and greeting unemployment before October was even a week old. The South Korean kicker’s 2017 flame out was so drastic — he made just 50 percent of his six field-goal attempts, including three misses between two one-possession losses (the first missed was blocked) — it was fair to wonder if we’d ever see him in the NFL again. An inspiring story seemed to run out of time just as it was getting started.
Kicking is a fickle business, though, and sometimes that benefits unemployed boots. Koo found himself with a second chance in Week 10 of last season, arriving to replace veteran Matt Bryant (9 for 14 in seven games), who replaced Giorgio Tavecchio, who couldn’t make it out of the preseason. Unlike his first NFL foray, Koo capitalized, making 23 of 26 field-goal attempts and 15 of 16 extra-point tries.
Koo’s arrival brought stability to the Falcons, but Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff and Quinn rarely stop seeking talent in every corner and crevasse of the football world. Roster spot No. 90 very well could be for Koo’s competitor.
“We were pretty intentional, (general manager) Thomas (Dimitroff) and myself, about not adding all the way up to 90 on the day after, so you would have some flexibility if opportunities came up to add some guys post-draft to the team,” Quinn said. “That definitely is still something that we are looking into. That’s why we are keeping that space available. We’ll see what takes place over the next couple of weeks.”
Kicking battles can take on strange appearances by the hour or the period of camp practice. We’ll learn this summer whether Koo can defend his job, if he has to.