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Panthers kicker Joey Slye's accuracy is dropping; he still wants his game-winning shot

Alaina Getzenberg, The Charlotte Observer on

Published in Football

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- During the fourth quarter of the Panthers' win Sunday against the Titans, the wind changed.

It's something that most people don't notice, or frankly care about it.

But for Joey Slye, it meant everything.

With about six minutes remaining, Slye went out to attempt a 49-yard field goal. The score wasn't particularly close, Carolina led 30-14 at the time, but the kick would have made it a three-possession game.

The wind had been traveling north to south earlier that afternoon, which meant, had this try been like the first one he made that day, Slye needed to aim the kick straight down the middle of the goal posts.

But when he trotted out for this attempt, the direction of the wind flipped to east-west. And when he kicked it straight down the middle, the ball sailed wide left.

 

Although missing kicks is frustrating, Carolina coach Ron Rivera has implored the young kicker to learn something from each try that misses the mark.

"I think the thing that Joey does really well is he takes those life lessons within the plays or within those games, and he works on them throughout the week," said punter Michael Palardy, who doubles as Slye's holder. "He builds on the things that he's really good at, and he builds and works on the things that he may feel like need more work. That's pretty impressive to watch in practice and then transition into games on Sundays."

Slye's journey to starting in the NFL has been well chronicled after the 23-year-old was unable to latch onto a roster last year. He was given the starting job in Carolina when Graham Gano was lost for the season due to re-injuring his plant leg.

But he earned the job based on an impressive preseason performance that included hitting three field goals of more than 50 yards. However, accuracy has long been an issue for Slye since his time at Virginia Tech. In his senior year in 2017, he made only 68.2% of his field goals, and that undesired trend is beginning to reemerge.

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