Fans of the Buffalo Bills had an unusual luxury this year. Most of the “sexy” position battles were either already settled by an incumbent or had a clear path based on offseason changes. But the kicker battle had real intrigue pitting incumbent Stephen Hauschka against rookie Tyler Bass. Bass was declared the victor when the Bills cut Hauschka on August 27.
Reporting was scarce from camp this year, but the trickle of information suggested that Bass was doing relatively well. This was not the case for Hauschka and the final straw may have been a missed point after attempt during the Bills’ scrimmage that occurred earlier on the same day Hauschka was released.
Another factor felt to be the main concern was the relative leg strength of both players, with Bass expected to have the significant advantage. During a meeting with the press earlier this week, general manager Brandon Beane confirmed that leg strength was indeed a factor. Per Brandon Beane, Tyler Bass helped solidify the decision with two kickoffs that went through the end zone. Into 20 mph winds.
The instant reaction to this might be that kickoffs should’t be a deciding factor, especially when Hauschka wasn’t bad at all in that department. Digging a touch deeper though, all other things equal this is pretty incredible evidence of the strength of Bass’s leg.