Chiefs’ Harrison Butker defends Tommy Townsend amid headline controversy

on Sunday 30-24 overtime win against houston texans, Kansas City Chiefs Placekicker Harrison Butker missed an extra point and a 51-yard field goal attempt in the last minute. In an injury-shortened season, Butker has now missed five field goals and three extra point attempts in ten games.

Former Chiefs kicker Dustin Colquitt, first on Twitter and then on local sports radio, has blamed his successor for Butker fights. Colquitt, who spent 15 seasons as Kansas City’s punter and starter, insists that the stoppages of third-year punter Tommy Townsend are the reason for the placekicker’s inconsistency.

In the locker room before practice Tuesday, Butker tried to put an end to his starter’s trouble. He credited Townsend, as well as Chiefs coach Andy Reid, special teams coordinator Dave Toub and long snapper James Winchester, for working collaboratively amid lackluster results.

“Dustin, he’s a huge Chiefs fan,” he said of his former teammate. “Obviously he has given a lot to the whole community here, and I have a lot of respect for him. I’m just trying to be the best kicker that he can be. All the guys here, James, Tommy, Coach Toub, Coach Reid, they’re all pushing us to do our best. And we’re listening to all those guys and trying to get better every day.”

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Butker reiterated that he is happy with the job his current starter is doing.

“James and Tommy do a great job,” he declared, “and I have to finish it off and put the ball through the posts. I’ve been happy with all the effort and all the work that those guys have been putting in. At the end of the day? If the ball is on the ground, it has to pass.”

In his comments, Reid simply dismissed his former player’s idea that an issue with withholdings is not being addressed.

“We look at everything,” he said of the situation. “I will not go into that, but there is nothing that escapes us. We have to get over this. Everyone takes responsibility among the three of them. We’ll fix it”.

The criticism of a former player does not weigh more for the coach.

“[Colquitt has] great personality,” Reid observed. “He loves to express his opinion. I don’t worry about all that. We do our thing. We study all those things. Everyone has an opinion. I don’t worry at all.

Colquitt’s thesis, in short, is that Townsend’s holds consistently leave the ball’s laces in the wrong position. Butker downplayed the issue entirely.

“One thing I’ve worked on in the last two years,” he said, “is just looking right under the ball so I don’t notice the twist laces, if there are any twist laces, because I can’t control that. . And I like to think that no matter where the laces are, you should still be able to hit a ball straight.

“That’s something that Tommy and I have been working on throughout our time together – just some drills where Tommy sets the balls down and spins them. So I have to get better at kicking the ball basically starting from the ground under the ball so I don’t even notice a spinning ball.

“I think a lot of times kickers maybe give too much credit to balls where the laces aren’t right, or the lean or whatever. I just take the approach of, ‘I can do better.’ I can fix that.’ He should be able to hit any ball through the uprights.”

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The downside to dismissing Colquitt’s claims, however, is that if withholdings aren’t the problem, what is? Citing ample distance, Butker didn’t blame the lingering pain from his Week 1 injury.

“I have a lot of distance in field goals,” he said. “I have to keep working to make sure they pass.”

Both Butker and Reid warned against making sweeping changes to fix the problem in December.

“You have to trust the process,” Butker explained. “You can’t just throw everything out the window and try to do something new.

“A big reason why a ball doesn’t go, or goes right through the middle, is just a little adjustment; a little little change. That’s the hard part of kicking. You have to find what that little change is, and make it and move on.”

Reid hopes that the player gets over his recent struggles.

“You get a little nervous,” he observed, “and that ball looks small. All of a sudden, you work on it and it looks great again. And you start hitting him better. That’s where we are. We are working on it. [I] I’m still very confident in the process. We just have to work through it.”

Butker knows how to solve precision problems because he’s done it before. He cited a series of missed extra points as evidence that the situation can improve.

“I know in 2020 I was missing all those extra points,” he recalled. “One of the things that helped me was not to analyze everything too much, because you can get to where you’re trying to change too much, and you’re hurting yourself.

“You have to go back to the drawing board, always, if something is wrong. And you have to come back better. That’s what I’m doing. I’m working hard”.

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