The Jets kicking situation is a mess. They've been through two kickers so far, and it's a good bet they'll add a third when they scrape someone off the waiver wire on Sunday. With eight days to go until the regular season they have a problem. A very big problem.
So why can't Carli Lloyd be the solution?
She won't be, of course, and there are good reasons for that. But at this point, the 37-year-old star of the U. S. women's soccer team couldn't really be much worse. Jets kickers are just 6 for 9 on field goals this summer after current kicker Taylor Bertolet missed three field goals in the preseason finale on Thursday night. Worse, Bertolet and now-retired kicker Chandler Catanzaro are only a combined 3 for 7 on extra points.
Knowing that, the video of the 55-yard field goal Lloyd converted during a recent visit to the Philadelphia Eagles training camp sure looks incredibly appealing. And it's already sparked a national conversation about whether Lloyd - or any woman - could realistically kick field goals in the NFL. Lloyd was even reportedly offered an opportunity by an unnamed team to suit up and give it a shot in a preseason game.
So why not?
"Look, that was obviously a publicity stunt in controlled conditions," said one NFL scout. "But her leg is no joke. She's athletic enough. There's more to it than leg strength, but with a little bit of time …"
Lloyd does lack the necessary place-kicking experience, given her life-long devotion to soccer. But many, many NFL kickers began as soccer players at some point in their lives. One of them - Hall of Famer Morten Andersen - has already offered to tutor Lloyd if she wants to make the transition. And she seems to have plenty of support from former kickers and current kickers, like Aldrick Rosas of the Giants who called her "a real role model" on Thursday night.
"I think as a specialist growing up we all played soccer," Rosas said. "I played soccer my whole life. It is an easier transition if you played soccer to go to football. It kind of makes it super easy that (the ball) is off the ground. Soccer helps a lot."
But Rosas also played football and kicked in high school and college, taking years to develop the technique that made him a Pro Bowl kicker last year. As wonderful as Lloyd's long field goal was to see, those that really know about placekicking understand that her technique needs plenty of work.
That's why Mike Westhoff, the outspoken former Jets special teams coach and former SNY analyst, told NJ.com Lloyd would have "zero chance" at NFL success. Westhoff explained that Lloyd started too far back on her kick and took too many steps to get there. The result was that she took about a quarter-second too long to get the kick off, which would be the difference of a clean kick and one that is blocked.
"With that big run, she would've been like 1.5 or 1.6 seconds," Westhoff said. "Please, I could block her."
"She did get a running start on that kick," the scout said. "That would never work. But why can't she fix that? It would take a lot of work and a lot of time. I don't know if she wants to do that. But if she does, the leg strength is certainly there."
What about the criticism that at 5-foot-7 she's way too small for a football player, especially if she's ever forced to make a special teams tackle.
"Really?" the scout said. "What team has ever signed a kicker based on how well they can tackle?"
Fair point. Still, her raw leg strength isn't enough to help the Jets right now. Bertolet has the leg to make a 55-yard field goal, but he still missed form 49, 53, and 56 on Saturday night in a preseason game with his job on the line. The Jets need a reliable, accurate kicker, someone who's technique is honed by years of work and experience.
Lloyd, who is committed to playing for the U.S. soccer team in the Olympics next summer, probably won't be able to put in that kind of time.
It's an intriguing thought, though, and not at all implausible. The Jets could do worse.
In fact, they likely already have.