NFC South: Steve Hauschka

The Atlanta Falcons made a few roster moves that, on the surface, seem very minor Sunday afternoon.

They signed cornerback Gabe Derricks, who had been with the team earlier in the preseason. They also released kicker Steve Hauschka and tight end Colin Peek. But the real story here isn’t about any of those three.

The real story is the Falcons have apparently settled on veteran Matt Bryant as their kicker. He and Hauschka were competing for the job in camp. Looks like that competition is over.

In Bryant, the Falcons might have solved the kicking problems that have plagued them since Jason Elam suddenly got old last season. Bryant and Hauschka each did some kicking for the Falcons after they let Elam go late last season.

But Bryant is the more proven commodity. He had some excellent years in Tampa Bay. He dealt with some family tragedies (the loss of his infant son and his father) over the past couple years and had to reinvent himself by going to the United Football League last year.

The Falcons must have been seeing some strong signs that Bryant is back to the form of a few years ago to go ahead and declare a winner in this race already.

Falcons sign kicker Hauschka

December, 29, 2009
With kicker Matt Bryant dealing with a hamstring injury and the recent death of his father, the Atlanta Falcons went out and signed kicker Steven Hauschka on Tuesday.

Hauschka previously kicked for Baltimore, where he also served as a kickoff specialist. Atlanta punter Michael Koenen handles kickoffs and he and Bryant both were injured in Sunday’s game. Koenen suffered a concussion and that created a bit of a desperate situation.

The Falcons were forced to have defensive end Kroy Biermann kick off and had backup quarterback Chris Redman prepared to take over punting duties. There remains optimism that Koenen can play in Sunday’s regular-season finale, but Hauschka should help stabilize the situation on special teams.

The Falcons also placed guard Harvey Dahl and cornerback Chris Houston on their practice squad. They also elevated linebacker Robert James from the practice squad to the regular roster.

Falcons working out kickers

November, 24, 2009
Just got a tidbit from a very reliable league source. The Atlanta Falcons worked out four kickers on Tuesday.

They had Brandon Coutu, Sam Swank, Shane Andrus and Steve Hauschka in for workouts. This is highly interesting because the Falcons have veteran (and Georgia native) Jason Elam as their kicker.

The league source said no moves are imminent and the Falcons plan to stick with Elam this week. But the team apparently is assembling a list of possible replacements.

That’s not a bad idea because the normally-reliable Elam hasn’t been very accurate on field goals this season and has been listed on the injury report much of this year.