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Lindell not letting 'squirrels' nibble at confidence


By Tim Graham

Buffalo Bills kicker Rian Lindell hasn't been thrilled with his performances the past few days.

Lindell has been, shall we say, less than perfect.

"It's a frustrating gig," Lindell said after today's practice at One Bills Drive. "You have to take advantage of every kick. So when one squirrels, it doesn't look too hot."

After missing an attempt Tuesday, he stormed off the grass field, entered the indoor practice facility and abused a garbage can, knocking it over and converting it from a circle to an oval.

On Wednesday, another sidewinding miss sent Lindell sulking off the field and past a security gate to collect his thoughts away from the team.

"I don't like the misses," Lindell said. "I don't care if it's April, August, September or hopefully January. I just don't like to see a ball come off my foot that doesn't look acceptable.

"That's just how it's been: great kick, great kick, great kick, good kick, great kick and then Rrrrrrrrr ... Something that's just, like, 'Come on, now.' "

Lindell also missed a 22-yard field goal in the preseason opener against the Washington Redskins, but he probably doesn't need to worry about his job.

He's the most accurate field-goal kicker in Bills history. He has made 82.9 percent of his attempts. His 204 field goals are 30 behind Steve Christie for the club record. John Potter, the rookie brought in as a kickoff specialist, has been wonderful in that role but erratic with his field-goal attempts.

The Bills don't provide field-goal stats from practices, and it's often difficult for reporters to tell if a ball goes through the uprights from field level. But it's easy to guess when the ball spins sideways and Lindell gets angry.

"I guess I'm the bizarro Iverson where practice means something to me," Lindell said. "So I come out for practice like a game."

Lindell declared his legs feel terrific. He said he hasn't tinkered with his technique much and isn't trying new shoes.

Most importantly, Lindell said he's not letting the misses get to him. He smiled a lot when talking about his adventurous past few days of practice.

"The ball's just sitting right there eventually," Lindell said. "It just blows me away and frustrates me sometimes that they don't always go like they should.

"The confidence isn't shattered because when I get back there, I feel comfortable. And when I get to this point" -- Lindell poses in his ready position -- "it's, like, 'OK, I'm going to make this kick.' "

Lindell, who missed eight games last season with a shoulder injury, said he wasn't sure whether he's missing more kicks than usual. But he claimed there's no reason to get alarmed.

"Last year, I don't think I missed much this time of year," Lindell said. "But I'm not too worried about it. All I can say is I feel confident when I approach the ball. My legs are fresh. I feel very good.

"I'm just trying to get comfortable, but I feel much better than sets have gone. That's part of the frustration. How can I hit a ball like that right now, when I feel this good?"

(Photo: Bill Wippert/Associated Press)

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About Press Coverage

Tim Graham

Tim Graham

Tim Graham returned to The Buffalo News in 2011 after covering the NFL for three years at ESPN and for one year at the Palm Beach Post. Before that, the Cleveland native spent seven seasons on the Buffalo Sabres beat for The News and was president of the Boxing Writers Association of America.

@ByTimGraham |

Mark Gaughan

Mark Gaughan

Buffalo native Mark Gaughan started working at The News in 1980 and has been covering the Bills exclusively since 1992. He is a former president of the Pro Football Writers of America, and he is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame selection committee.

@gggaughan |

Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski joined The News in January 2009. The Lewiston native attended St. Francis High School before graduating from the University of South Florida. He writes a weekly Fantasy column in addition to his beat writing duties.

@JaySkurski |