So let me see if I understand this: Kris Brown knew that he had a mechanical problem of some kind with his kicking, but he elected not to do anything about it because, like a golfer who doesn't want to make mechanical adjustments between rounds, a kicker doesn't want to make mechanical adjustments between games. Apparently the Texans didn't see anything wrong with this as head coach Barney Fife refused to bring in any other kickers during the season to compete for the job, instead choosing to send Brown out time after time after time to miss kick after kick after kick.
Jerome Solomon writes about this over at the Houston Chronicle -- yeah, I'm a few days late, but reading Solomon isn't a must on my daily to-do list. And Solomon thinks the kicker's line of thinking is okay, too, because, unlike San Diego's Nate Kaeding, Brown has proven to be a clutch kicker. Now I'm not real sure where Solomon gets his "clutch" thinking from, as the Texans have never really played any games that actually counted for anything. Which means he's just like Kaeding who is one of the best regular season kickers in NFL history, but can't hit a playoff kick from three inches. In fact, I'd say that Brown is worse than Kaeding because Brown's misses come during the regular season whereas Kaeding can at least make those kicks.
But it's not really the comparison to Kaeding that's bothering me, or that Solomon thinks Brown is clutch but Kaeding isn't. What bugs me is that Solomon, Brown, and the Texans think it's okay for Brown to know that he has a problem that can be addressed, but instead chooses to ignore that problem. Football isn't golf. Kris Brown isn't just out there kicking for himself as part of some Punt, Pass, and Kick competition. He's kicking to win a game for his teammates.
You don't see this kind of stupid-ass thinking in baseball. When a
pitcher's mechanics are messed up, he and the pitching coach work on it
constantly -- watching film, throwing bullpen sessions -- in an attempt
to fix the problem. They don't wait for the season to end because if
they wait for the season to end, then the pitcher gets sent to the
bullpen, the minors, or designated for assignment and the manager and
pitching coach risk losing their jobs. When Roy Oswalt was having
problems several years ago, he didn't wait for the season to end, he
contacted his former pitching coach in hopes of figuring out what was
going wrong so he could get a grip on the problem -- he did this during
the middle of the season. The same holds true with hitters, who are
constantly watching video of their swings.
You've also got to kind of question just why the Texans were so damn lenient with Brown. Steve Slaton got benched because he was fumbling the football. Ryan Moats got benched for that same reason. So did Arian Foster. It can be argued that they were just having mechanical problems -- there was something wrong with their grip on their football -- so following the Kris Brown line of thinking, they should have been left alone because a golfer doesn't fool with his mechanics between rounds. (Then again, if you really think about it, Gary Kubiak followed this line of thinking with Chris Brown -- Kubiak must have a thing for K/Chris's.)
I think Solomon is right about one thing: Kris Brown will be back next year. Which is just another sign of just how damn clueless Kubiak is as a coach. A coach who is serious about winning, about getting to the playoffs, doesn't stick with a kicker who knows he has some mechanical issues but refuses to work on them. Winning games is too important.
Does anyone really think Bill Parcells would let Brown wait until next year to work out his problems -- well, he might, but Brown would be working on them on his own as he would no longer be on the team. And if Bill Walsh was willing to bench to Joe Montana in favor of Steve Young if it meant a better chance to win a game, do you think he would have been so cavalier about his kicker ignoring a mechanical problem?
Then again, Parcells and Walsh, unlike Kubiak, also knew how to manage a clock and prepare their teams. And unlike Kubiak, they also had each won a Super Bowl by their fourth year as a head coach. And while I have no evidence, I'm pretty sure Parcells would have kicked the hell out of any player who analogized football to golf.