Titan’s Bironas not concerned about missed kicks

When you’re one of the most accurate placer kickers in NFL

history, people tend to notice when you miss. Rob Bironas missed

not once, but twice in his preseason debut for Tennessee.

Neither Bironas nor Titans coach Mike Munchak are concerned.

Bironas said Tuesday he knew instantly what went wrong when he

missed wide left from 38 yards, and wide right from 37 in last

week’s loss to Cincinnati. He’s working back from a two-week layoff

because of back soreness and says he is glad he has two more weeks

left this preseason to hone his timing.

”It’s one of those things at this time I’m not worried about

it,” Bironas said. ”I know in the game my get-off times were a

tenth of second difference when usually they’re a thousandth of a

second difference. One of them I was on top of the ball and there

way too early, and one of them I slowed everything down trying to

make up for it and just leg-whipped it. Paying attention, my focus

wasn’t there 100 percent. I was paying more attention to more than

just my job.”

Munchak has been around Bironas all of the kicker’s eight

previous seasons with the Titans and doesn’t plan on bring in any

kickers to push the veteran or compete for the job.

”Coming off an injury or medical condition, you’re always going

to be a little rusty because you haven’t really been in a game

situation since last year,” Munchak said.

Bironas, who signed a two-year deal this offseason, ranks third

in NFL history connecting on 85.6 percent of his kicks. The native

of Louisville, Ky., is 214 of 250 for his career on field goals,

and he also has 11 game-winning field goals. His lone Pro Bowl

berth came in 2007 when he kicked the longest field goal of his

career with a 60-yarder.

But Bironas’ numbers dipped in 2012 to 80.6 percent on field

goals as he hit 25 of 31. Those included misses of 41 and 48 yards

on a sore ankle before Bironas hit the game-winner from 26 yards to

beat Detroit in overtime. Munchak also gave Bironas a chance at a

57-yarder indoors at Indianapolis that missed right, and the Jets

managed to block a 46-yarder last December.

The Titans do have rookie Maikon Bonani, a native of Brazil who

played at South Florida, in camp. Bonani handled all the kicking in

the preseason opener against Washington on Aug. 8, but even the

strong-legged rookie missed a 26-yarder in the 27-19 loss to

Cincinnati.

Bironas looked over at Bonani in the locker room and joked he

was glad the rookie missed a kick to keep people from saying Bonani

should now have his job.

But Bironas said he shouldn’t have rushed himself back early in

training camp when he started having his customary back soreness

from kicking away. He sat out a Sunday night session, then was back

Tuesday when he should have taken another day or two then. That led

to him missing nearly two weeks.

On Tuesday, Bironas kicked up to 40 field goals until his leg

got tired and plans to build up to 50 or 55 next week. He also

kicked between 10 and 15 kickoffs that he was hitting well. He

isn’t happy with how his first game this season went.

”But I’m glad that it was able to show its ugly face right now

and I can fix it now rather than in a month or in three weeks or be

dealing with an injury that takes me out of a game in season

because I’ve been here eight years and haven’t missed one” game,

Bironas said. ”This was a right time to be patient and let the

body get right for the season.”

Notes: LB Zach Brown (sore foot) missed his second straight

practice, but Munchak said he may practice Wednesday. … DE Ropati

Potoitua (broken right hand) will not play against Atlanta while DT

Sammie Hill (left elbow) may not play the rest of the preseason to

heal up. Munchak also said LB Akeem Ayers (right ankle) will not

play the final two preseason games to be ready for the season

opener Sept. 8.

AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org

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