New Chiefs' kicker better not lose his edge

August, 29, 2008
8/29/08
7:53
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com' s Bill Williamson

Note to Nick Novak: Don't get too comfortable.

According to the Kansas City Star, the Chiefs have decided to go with Novak instead of Connor Barth in their kicking battle.

Both Barth and Novak were both inexperienced headed in training camp this year. But in the end, Novak won out apparently because he, at least, has some experience. The story, though, is more complicated than just Novak beating Barth.

Kansas City put a bizarre twist on its kicking battle this week when it signed a veteran Jay Feely, only to cut him a day later. There was talk that the Chiefs weren't completely sold on Feely and that both Novak and Barth responded well to having him at practice for two days. But Novak apparently was more impressive than Barth and it seems he will be the Chiefs kicker.

When they open the regular season, Sept. 7 at New England, Novak shouldn't celebrate too much or get too comfortable. NFL teams always have a short leash on young kickers and the fact the Kansas City brought in a veteran already shows it will do it again.

It is clear the Chiefs want Novak to succeed and to be their kicker of the present and the future. But the tough part isn't over for Novak. Now he has to show he can handle the job in the pressure of the regular season. So congratulations, Nick, but don't get too comfortable because you are officially a kicker in the NFL. The hard part has just begun.

Bill Williamson | email

ESPN Oakland Raiders reporter

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