Struggling Argos kicker stays confident

TERRY KOSHAN, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:36 PM ET

Argonauts head coach Jim Barker has given Grant Shaw a clear message.

The rookie kicker has to be more productive for the Argonauts.

About all that might be missing from Barker’s edict is an “or else” addendum — but that could come if Shaw does not shape up.

Shaw, the Argos’ second-round pick (11th overall) in May, has made just 14 of 21 field-goal tries through seven games for a success rate of 66.7%. That’s worst in the Canadian Football League among active players, and the only man who had a harder time than Shaw, Alexis Serna (57.1%), was cut by the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.

“One of the things that impresses me about him, to keep him around even though he has missed some kicks, is if he misses one, he goes back out there and kicks one 45 yards,” Barker said.

“There is something about him I have not put my finger on yet, (but) you just believe at some point this guy is going to be a special kicker in this league.”

Shaw has been putting in some extra practice this week, but the level-headed 26-year-old from Edmonton isn’t tossing and turning at night.

A product of the University of Saskatchewan, Shaw was good on 19 of his 23 attempts in his final year of school in 2009.

“I’m not losing any sleep over it,” Shaw said. “It’s just a matter of getting out there and doing it. It’s as simple as that. They know I can do it and I know I can do it. The coaches have been patient, and I understand that, but I have to be better.”

One factor that has aided in Shaw’s ability to keep his employment is that his misses have not cost the Argos victories. But it’s troubling to consider that Shaw made each of his first five attempts, so he barely has been good on 50% (nine of 16) since.

It’s about aim, not distance. With an average of 34.6 yards a field goal, no CFL kicker this season has booted them as long on average.

“Right now, his percentage is not good, and he needs to be better and I talked to him about that this week,” Barker said. “This is pro football, and there are a lot of guys who count on him. When we drive the ball down, we need to put points on the board.

“It’s a Catch-22. You don’t want to give up on a rookie too early. Mike Vanderjagt got cut three times before he made it here in Toronto. I try to give guys more rope than less. Grant is a competitor and he will answer the call.”

Speaking of calls, Shaw knows he got shafted against the Montreal Alouettes on Saturday, as he was not awarded a point after a convert went through the uprights following a Toronto touchdown.

“It should have not been in question,” Shaw said. “But I didn’t hit it good. It went through, but it has to better.”

terry.koshan@sunmedia.ca


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