The Tennessee Titans have a situation at kicker going into Week 12, as the team’s starter, Randy Bullock, is in danger of missing his second straight game due to a calf injury.
If Bullock can’t go, the Titans may look to rookie kicker Caleb Shudak to take the reins.
The Iowa product was a 2022 undrafted free-agent signing of the Titans and was thought to have a chance to give Bullock a run for his money after performing well at OTAs.
However, an unspecified leg injury landed Shudak on the PUP list to start the season and derailed the competition, giving it to Bullock by default.
While Bullock has been a reliable kicker over his season-plus on the job, one of his weaknesses is leg strength, as the veteran has issues with longer field goals and isn’t great at kickoffs.
Where this whole situation gets interesting is that Shudak does offer the big leg the Titans are looking for and, according to Titans special teams coach Craig Aukerman, it’s a bigger leg than Bullock’s.
Shudak more power than Bulock on KO and FG, Aukerman says. #Titans
— Paul Kuharsky (@PaulKuharskyNFL) November 23, 2022
Aukerman also revealed he is confident in the rookie, while also noting that Bullock’s status is indeed very much up in the air.
#Titans ST coordinator Craig Aukerman: Randy Bullock is progressing. He wants to get out there to help the team … The earlier we know who it will be, the better for the team. We're confident in Caleb Shudak. Today is a big day for him
— Jim Wyatt (@jwyattsports) November 23, 2022
#Titans' Aukerman: Big conversation this week is not risking further inj. if Bullock tries to push through for this game — might knock him out for longer time.
— John Glennon (@glennonsports) November 23, 2022
The concern with Shudak, of course, is we have no clue how he’s going to respond when faced with the bright lights of a regular season game in the NFL. After all, he has zero experience.
But it’s also possible Shudak thrives if he gets a chance and offers the ability to make the longer field goals Bullock can’t, in which case Tennessee might have a tough decision on its hands.
Bullock does have one more year on his contract in 2023, but it also only carries $600,000 in dead cap if he gets cut, so it’s not like Tennessee is married to him.
If Bullock misses another game and Shudak gets a chance, things could get really interesting in the weeks to come. Even still, it’s hard to imagine the Titans making such a big and risky change this late in the season.
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