Dustin Hopkins has been the Washington Football Team’s kicker since 2015. And, according to head coach Ron Rivera, that isn’t changing anytime soon.
Hopkins missed two field goals in Washington’s preseason opener on Thursday in New England. Afterward, Rivera explained to reporters it wasn’t as simple as Hopkins just missing wide.
“It’s not necessarily simple when he misses,” Rivera said, per Peter Hailey of NBC Sports Washington. “There’s more to it.”
What Rivera is referring to is Washington has a new long snapper in 2021. Rookie Camaron Cheeseman replaced veteran Nick Sundberg, who was with Washington for 11 seasons. Anytime you replace a long snapper, it takes time.
“You take a look at the timing, and you can tell right now they don’t have the rhythm,” he said. “Their timing is off.”
Rivera is right. You can’t put all the blame on Hopkins this time. The problem is Hopkins has had these issues before — with Sundberg as the long snapper.
After practice on Sunday, Rivera continued to stick by Hopkins when asked why he didn’t bring competition in to compete with Hopkins.
“He’s our kicker,” Rivera said.
“He’s our kicker.” Ron Rivera on his philosophy of whether or not to bring in competition at kicker with Dustin Hopkins
— Rhiannon Walker (@InstantRHIplay) August 15, 2021
Hopkins has had plenty of good moments with Washington over the years. What he sometimes lacks is consistency. Now, with a team expected to compete for a playoff spot, Hopkins can’t miss 40-yard field goals.
For now, his coach is sticking by him.