Just because we've taken a look at the major positions and battles, it doesn't mean we're not going to spend some time delving into the specialists also. Obviously Matt Bryant is locked in as the Falcons' kicker, and he's not going anywhere. A year from now this could be a very different look at the position due to Bryant's age (he'll enter the 2012 season at 37 years old), but for now he's still in the upper echelon of kickers in the NFL.
The 2011 season was a good year for the Atlanta kicker. Bryant went the entire season missing just two field goals, both of which were from the 40-49 yard range. His 93.1% accuracy was tied for 1st in the NFL among kickers who attempted more than 20 FGs, and he was one of only three players who were perfect from the 50+ yard range.
For older kickers the risk is that their range will quickly degrade, but based on what we saw from Bryant last season there doesn't seem much of a risk there. Despite being so reliable, it was a little surprising we didn't see the Falcons bring in a UDFA kicker to at least get some time in training camp, and evaluate some talent for the long term good of the position. As a way to extend Bryant's career kickoffs are handled by punter Matt Bosher. We'll look at Bosher later this week, but he's not nearly as safe as Bryant- and his 28.4% touchback rating was one of the worst in the NFL among kickoff kickers.
It's for this reason alone I'm surprised we didn't see a UDFA kicker to possibly come in as a kickoff specialist, but it seems the organization are still happy with using Bosher, or possibly another punter they have in camp. For now, there's no reason Falcons' fans shouldn't remain thrilled with Matt Bryant; even at his age he's one of the league's best, and hasn't shown any signs of slowing down. He will again be a big factor in Atlanta's success in 2012.