The Cincinnati Bengals took the unusual step of adding rookie kicker Jake Elliott to the practice squad Sunday, but the team is adamant the move in no way signals a lack of confidence in Randy Bullock and there is no reason for him to be looking over his shoulder.
“It’s Randy’s job,” special teams coordinator Darrin Simmons said. “Randy won the job, so there’s none of that.”
Bullock went 6 of 7 on field goals in preseason games, with his only miss coming with 1:45 remaining in the 7-6 loss at Indianapolis on Thursday. Elliott, the team’s fifth-round pick, was 4 of 7, with two misses from 46 and 60 in the final five minutes of the Colts game.
“I was told I won the job and I was the guy, it was my show, just keep rolling, so that’s the mindset I have,” Bullock said. “We’re all on the same page.”
Bullock said he is looking forward to a season of normalcy after a nomadic existence the last two years that saw him kick for five teams. He was a one-game stopgap in Pittsburgh last year in December when Chris Boswell was injured, and a one-game fill-in with the New York Giants when Josh Brown served his suspension in September.
“This is the first opportunity I had where I had a legitimate opportunity to stick, and I was told that going into all of this,” Bullock said. “More than anything, it was beneficial for me to be in camp. I was able to do the OTAs and minicamp.”
Bullock’s previous experiences are enough to drive home the point that job security for NFL kickers is a flimsy concept, so having another one on the practice squad doesn’t change anything. For either kicker.
Elliott’s time in Cincinnati is no more certain than Bullock’s, given the way the practice squad works. Any NFL team can sign any player on another practice squad at any point, so long as that player is added to the 53-man roster.
But Elliott said the fact the Bengals made the rare move of addi
ng a kicker to the practice squad was a jolt of confidence after a disappointing ending to the preseason in which he missed three of his last four field goals.
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“I think it speaks volumes that they’re still confident me and want me to stay active,” he said. “It’s great of them to do, as far as giving me an opportunity for other teams around the league to know that I’m on call as well.”
There are a number of experienced kickers — Mike Nugent, Josh Lambo, Nick Novak, Dan Carpenter to name a few — on the street waiting for teams to call, but Elliott said having the opportunity to practice with the Bengals will be a major advantage rather than just working out on his own.
“You can’t really compare it,” he said. “Being back home and not having facilities to train at and being able to get a rhythm with the snapper and holder, which wouldn’t be able to do if you were on the streets. I’m thankful for the opportunity.”
Roster moves: The Bengals made three roster moves Monday, placing third-string quarterback Jeff Driskel on injured reserve while adding two players to the practice squad.
Because Driskel made the 53-man roster before going on IR, he is eligible to return after eight weeks, which would be Oct. 30. Teams are allowed to bring back two players from IR during the course off a season.
The players added to bring the practice squad to its limit of 10 are cornerback Sojourn Shelton and guard Cole Toner. Both were waived by Arizona. Toner was a fifth-round pick out of Harvard in 2016. Shelton is a rookie from Wisconsin.
Baltimore Ravens vs. Cincinnati Bengals
When: 1 p.m. Sunday
Where: Paul Brown Stadium, Cincinnati
TV: Ch. 7, 12
Radio:1530-AM, 102.7-FM, 104.7-FM