Chiefs hope to fix recent consistency issues with field goal unit

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Kansas City Chiefs kicker Cairo Santos, punter/holder Dustin Colquitt and long snapper James Winchester haven’t been on the same page the past two games.

Dec. 13, 2015; Kansas City, MO; Chiefs kicker Cairo Santos (5) reacts to missing a field goal during the second half against the San Diego Chargers at Arrowhead Stadium. (AP Photo/Reed Hoffmann)

Dec. 13, 2015; Kansas City, MO; Chiefs kicker Cairo Santos (5) reacts to missing a field goal during the second half against the San Diego Chargers at Arrowhead Stadium. (AP Photo/Reed Hoffmann)

And the issues resulted in two blown point-after-touchdown (PAT) attempts in Week 13 and a missed field goal in Week 14.

“We’ve been a little inconsistent the last couple of weeks on the snaps,” coach Andy Reid told reporters Monday. “We’ve got to fix that.”

If the current late-season woes with the field goal unit offer déjà vu, they should.

Kansas City experienced trouble with then-long snapper Thomas Gafford during the final weeks of the 2014 season, leading to the signing of long snapper Charley Hughlett to the practice squad in Week 15.

The Chiefs overhauled the long snapper position during the offseason, signing Jorgen Hus and Brandon Hartson to reserve/future contracts and choosing to not re-sign Gafford.

The Chiefs eventually cut ties with Hus and Hartson before organized team activated (OTAs), settling on Winchester and rookie Andrew East to battle it out in training camp. Winchester emerged victorious after the third preseason game.

The mechanics of a long snap may seem like a simple process to outside observers, but Reid pointed out there are no sure things on the football field.

“I would tell you that nothing is automatic when humans are involved in it,” Reid said. “You got to focus in on it, you got to concentrate, work your techniques, make sure your hands are following through, all the little things that you need to do to stay consistent at it.”

Rainy conditions, which the Chiefs have played under in three straight weeks, could have also affected the field goal unit.

“Then you add weather into it and now you go back and you bang on those fundamentals,” Reid said. “You got to trust those things.”

Reid gave Winchester a vote of confidence, adding the long snapper out of Oklahoma hasn’t been in the NFL long.

“He’s learning,” Reid said. “He’s new at this. I mean, this is really his first year being a full-time guy.”

The Chiefs head coach also indicated he currently supports Winchester as the team shifts attention to Week 15.

“I’m there today with him,” Reid said.

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Herbie Teope is the lead Chiefs beat writer for ChiefsDigest.com and The Topeka Capital-Journal. Use the contact page to reach him or find him on Twitter: @HerbieTeope.

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