NFL Wire News

Texans change kickers after poor day

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The Sports Xchange

HOUSTON — The tenure of Houston Texans kicker Randy Bullock came to an unceremonious end when he was cut from the team two days after misfiring on a field-goal try and his second extra point of the season.

The Texans signed former San Diego Chargers kicker Nick Novak to a one-year contract when he convinced the coaching staff and personnel department during a successful tryout Tuesday that he would be a reliable replacement for Bullock.

Novak beat out former Washington kicker Kai Forbath in a close decision according to sources not authorized to speak publicly, during a five-kicker audition that included former Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Denver Broncos kicker Connor Barth, former Rice, Texans and New York Giants kicker Chris Boswell and former Oakland Raiders kicker Giorgio Tavecchio.

Bullock’s departure didn’t come as a surprise to teammates after he missed a 43-yard field goal that ricocheted off the right goal post during the first half of a 19-9 win Sunday over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The former Texas A&M standout also missed an extra point following a 20-yard touchdown run by running back Alfred Blue, also making field goals from 39 yards and 19 yards.

“It was frustrating for sure,” Bullock said Sunday after the game. “I just need to continue to fine-tune things. At this point I’ll probably work with my kicking coach on our day off on Tuesday – watch some film, do some fine-tuning and continue with the season.”

That wasn’t the case, though, as the Texans moved on from Bullock rather than give him one more chance. Bullock has converted 61 of 76 career field goals (80.3 percent) and 69 of 71 extra points three games into his third NFL season after being drafted by the Texans in the fifth round three years ago.

Texans head coach Bill O’Brien didn’t hide his feelings about the instability in the kicking game Sunday where four potential points were lost due to Bullock’s inconsistency.

“Obviously, we need to kick better, extra points, field goals,” O’Brien said. “We need to kick better.”

Novak, 34, tried out for the Philadelphia Eagles on Monday, but they signed former Miami Dolphins kicker Caleb Sturgis. Sturgis was going to work out for the Texans on Tuesday had he not been signed by the Eagles.

Novak has connected on 120 of 147 career field goals (81.6 percent), including 11-of-18 accuracy on kicks longer than 50 yards. He’s made 188 of 189 extra points.

A former undrafted free agent from Maryland who played initially for Washington after an All-Atlantic Coast Conference career for the Terps, Novak has spent the majority of his NFL career with the Chargers.

Novak made 22 of 26 field goals last season for San Diego and all 40 extra points he attempted before being cut prior to this season when the Chargers decided to go with undrafted rookie Josh Lambo as their new kicker.

SERIES HISTORY: 4th regular-season meeting. Texans lead series, 2-1. The Texans defeated the Falcons, 17-10, in 2011 as T.J. Yates outdueled Matt Ryan.

GAME PLAN

–The Texans will try to keep Matt Ryan off the field by running the football a lot, as they did against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. They’ll be selective with deep shots, as usual, until quarterback Ryan Mallett proves he can be more consistent.

Defensively, the game plan is to contain Julio Jones, not stop him entirely, since that’s unrealistic. They’ll try to pressure Ryan to keep him from getting Jones involved in deeper patterns.


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