Houston Texans: Kaimi Fairbairn is improving the special teams unit
After much trial and error, the Houston Texans finally have a solution to their woes at kicker.
Since Bill O’Brien was hired as the head coach of the Houston Texans, they have gone through several kickers in his time here. They’ve had a total of five kickers in five seasons, Randy Bullock, Chris Boswell, Nick Novak, Nick Rose and Kaimi Fairbairn. Boswell and Rose were signed to bring competition to the position during the preseason, but they weren’t able to compete at the level they were expected to perform.
The Texans had been kicking themselves ever since they placed Boswell on the practice squad with the opportunity to be poached by the other 31 NFL teams. He signed with the New York Giants for a brief stint before catching on with the Pittsburgh Steelers where he’s been a Pro Bowl kicker and has become one of the better-paid kickers in the league.
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It took time for Boswell to get where he is now, and his situation is similar to Fairbairn’s in the way that he arrived late to the scene but he is now responsible for the kicking duties for a football franchise. Fairbairn isn’t at the level that Boswell is right now, but he has improved the team’s circumstances at the kicking position.
Fairbairn is a career 80.5 percent as the Texans kicker for the past two seasons. He is 13 of 16 this season on his kicks and has been accurate for an 81.3 percent. He has been responsible for helping the Texans win the past two consecutive games in overtime. Fairbairn has made all his extra point attempts this season which has helped the Texans stay in it in the past few games.
Fairbairn has also done a good job of getting into the end zone and prevent the kick returners from doing too much damage. Out of his 28 kickoffs, only six kicks have been returned for an average return 16 yards, that’s below the 25 yards opposing teams can have been simply allowing a touch back. No team has returned the football for a touchdown, and it has helped limit the damage the team has to deal with on game day.
Although its fair to point out Fairbairn’s struggles beyond the 50-yard line, he is 1-for-3, and he is going to have to improve from that range to continue to develop and allow the Texans to score points from that distance.
However, his ability to bounce back and knock down two game winners in the past few weeks shows the confidence isn’t broken. Fairbairn has proven the spotlight isn’t too big for him, and the Texans expect him to continue to improve as they face the Buffalo Bills in Week 6 looking for the third straight win in the regular season.