Kansas City, Mo. In the NFL preseason, if a kicker misses two medium-range field goals, he usually can count on a pink slip. Or at least some competition in practice next week.
Not Justin Medlock. The Kansas City Chiefs' rookie kicker missed 37- and 42-yard attempts in the Chiefs' 11-10 loss to the Miami Dolphins on Thursday, but the third-round draft pick's job appears to be secure.
"We're going to have to take a look at the film to see what really happened," holder Dustin Colquitt said. "The best we can figure right now, he just kind of rushed himself. Give him time."
The Chiefs have two more preseason games to iron out the kicking kinks, beginning with Thursday's home bout with New Orleans.
Much has been made this offseason of the Chiefs' new kicking battery. Besides Medlock's addition, long-snapper J.P. Darche was signed away from Seattle to replace salty veteran Kendall Gammon.
Though Colquitt handled the Chiefs' holding duties last year, he has had to practice a new technique to accommodate the left-footed Medlock. He discounts lack of chemistry as an explanation for Thursday's wide-left whiffs.
"We'll bounce back. We've showed it in camp," Colquitt said. "(Medlock) had one difficult day, and he bounced back. He might have missed two or three total the last two weeks of camp."
After slicing a 42-yarder to the left on the Chiefs' first possession, Medlock clanked a 37-yard attempt off the left upright at the beginning of the fourth quarter.
"He pushed both of them the same way," coach Herm Edwards said. "All I said to him after the second one was, 'We drafted you because you are a good kicker. You are a good kicker. And, I promise you, you'll get another chance to kick before the night's over, and you'll make it.'"
Medlock connected on a 34-yarder on the next drive, giving the Chiefs a 10-3 cushion that was promptly erased by the Dolphins' methodical scoring drive.
"At that point, I thought we were going to win the game," Edwards said.
It was the second time in two preseason games that a potentially game-winning Medlock field goal was nullified. In a game at Cleveland on Aug. 11, Medlock's short kickoff after a late-fourth-quarter field goal was returned for the game-clinching touchdown. The Browns won, 16-12.
Colquitt, himself only a second-year player, said he was encouraged by the young Medlock's fourth-quarter prowess.
"You saw how strong he was with what would have been a game-winner," Colquitt said. "This is what the preseason's for, to come out and get your feet wet and get in situations that you'll be in during the year.
Reid watch: Former Kansas University linebacker Nick Reid played on the punt- and kickoff-coverage units for the Chiefs and made a fourth-quarter appearance at outside linebacker. He was on the field for the Dolphins' game-turning touchdown march.
He has at least one more game to prove himself or to showcase his skills for other teams. The first roster cutdown will be Aug. 28, when each team can retain 75 players.