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Scobee ready to kick


If he's lucky, it'll happen in the first quarter; a chip shot from, say, 32 yards. It sure would help if Josh Scobee got one under his belt before he faces his first crunch-time kick.

But what if it doesn't come until crunch time? What if Scobee's first field goal attempt in a regular-season NFL game doesn't occur until the game is on the line with one tick left on the clock?

Scobee shrugged his shoulders, as if to say it would be no big deal. "No different from going into a preseason game," he said of the pressure he's facing for Sunday's season opener in Buffalo.

"If I said it was any different, you'd say there's something wrong with the guy's head," Scobee added.

Good point.

Pressure may have gotten to the rookie kicker in the first two preseason games, as he was one-for-four in field-goal attempts. In the final two preseason games, however, he rallied to make all four of his tries. It earned him a spot on the Jaguars' final roster, as coach Jack Del Rio cut veteran Steve Christie and turned his back on those veteran kickers who were released by other teams.

So, which is the real Scobee? The one from the first two preseason games, or the one in the last two preseason games?

"We're going to find out," Del Rio said. "We think he's working to stay fundamentally sound and he's got a good, live leg."

"I felt that in the last two (preseason) games I had more than proved I could get the job done," Scobee said.

But what about the pressure of the regular season? This isn't Louisiana Tech and the Western Athletic Conference. This is the NFL and one kick can make or break a team's season.

"I'm more excited than anything. I can't wait to get out there. I'm going to play my first NFL regular season game," Scobee said.

He would seem to have the mind-set of a crunch-time kicker. After all, what could be more crunch-like than the circumstances Scobee faced in the final two preseason games? Almost no one gave him a chance to win the job, and signing Christie was clearly a contingency plan should Scobee miss one more boot.

But he didn't. He didn't miss one more kick.

"They brought him in the night before (the Green Bay) game and it motivated me more," Scobee said.

That's good. Maybe the kid's got the right stuff.

Del Rio is concentrating his efforts on making sure the rest of his team has its head on straight for Sunday's opener in Buffalo.

"We will continue to focus on our preparations for Buffalo and on our mission to be a good football team," Del Rio told reporters today. "We expect to be a good football team. Our goal, our number one goal, is to make the playoffs."

Scobee, the third consecutive rookie kicker with whom the Jaguars will have opened the regular season, may be a major player in the Jaguars' efforts to reach their goal.

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