KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Despite Harrison Butker missing a field goal in three consecutive games for the first time in his NFL career, Chiefs special teams coordinator Dave Toub harbors no doubts about his veteran placekicker.
“He’s got a lot of pelts on the wall for us,” Toub said before the team’s Thursday practice. “He’s won football games, he’s a Super Bowl winner. He’s a guy that I know he’s going to bounce back from this little dip right now that he’s had.”
Butker returned three weeks ago from a four-game absence after suffering a severely sprained left ankle in the team’s season-opener against Arizona. Since his return Butker is 4-of-7 on field goal tries with misses from 39, 47 and 51 yards. He also missed an extra point Sunday night against Tennessee.
His miss from 39 yards against San Francisco was his first failed attempt within 40 yards in more than three years and just the third miss from inside 40 of his career.
Yet Butker also shook off the misses and connected on a go-ahead 28-yard field goal in overtime that proved to be the game-winner. Yet he concedes the injury has taken him out of his routine on both kickoffs and scrimmage kicks.
“If I was at 100% I would be doing full steps on my kickoffs or going back the 10 yards and everything,” Butker said. “I’m definitely good enough to be kicking but it’s a process of getting the mobility and flexibility and strength. It’s improving every day, every week but no, it’s not at 100%.”
Strength isn’t an issue for Butker, as evidenced by the franchise-record 62-yard field goal he hit in his return game against Buffalo in Week 6.
“I think it’s my mind telling my body to do certain things and it’s just not happening every single time,” Butker said. “It’s that consistency aspect, not the power or the ability to go out there and do it, it’s just the consistency aspect is what I’ve got to get better at.
Toub said he’s increased Butker’s rep in individual drills and added three to four reps in team drills to help him reestablish his consistency.
“We don’t need to reinvent the wheel with the guy for sure,” Toub said. “He knows what hes doing and he knows why he missed. Harrison, if he misses one he knows exactly what he did. That’s him figuring that out and with the operation, the hold and everything. Just becoming more consistent in practice will carry over to the games.”
Another part of the solution to Butker’s slump is time for his left ankle to recover so he can regain his normal confidence.
“I would hope that it will continue to keep getting better,” he said. “It has every week, it’s gotten better, it feels better after every game. I have hopes that I’ll be at 100% soon.”
Every kicker experiences slumps and Butker is no exception. During the 2020 season, he missed six extra-point tries through the first nine games of the season. Once he righted the ship, Butker didn’t miss another extra point for an entire year. He also ranks as the second-most accurate field goal kicker in NFL history, with his 88.82% success rate trailing only Justin Tucker (91.01%).
He’s confident he’ll get back on track soon sticking to his philosophy.
“So much of kicking is mental,” Butker explained. “Physically the ball’s not necessarily doing what I want it to do but what I can control is my mindset going out there and being confident and doing what I can control and attacking.
“Coach Reid says, ‘fear nothing and attack everything,’ so just going out there and taking it one kick at a time and just doing my best.”