Evan McPherson upset coach by watching Dr. Dre

Evan McPherson had a stellar rookie season.

The Cincinnati Bengals kicker connected on 84.8% of his field goals, including a 9-of-11 clip from 50-plus yards. He hit five game-winning kicks, with two of them arriving in the playoffs. In fact, he was perfect in the postseason, where he hit all 14 of his attempts to tie a record set by none other than Adam Vinatieri.

But Bengals special teams coordinator Darrin Simmons is displeased. In fact, he’s still steaming over his kicker’s actions in the Super Bowl. Surely he can’t be upset with McPherson’s 2-for-2 effort on both field goals and extra points.

No, he’s upset about McPherson catching the halftime show, a topic he described to The Athletic’s Jay Morrison on Thursday as “a sore subject … a real sore subject.” McPherson didn’t join his teammates in the halftime locker room. He stayed on the sidelines to watch Dr. Dre and Co. instead.

When called upon to kick after halftime, McPherson did his job, connecting on a 38-yard field goal to extend Cincinnati’s lead to 20-13. When asked by Morrison where McPherson needs to actually improve at his job, Simmons engaged in a tremendous display of picking at nits.

“He needs to become a better practice kicker and kick better than he has,” Simmons said. “Not that it’s poor, but I think for him to be elite and go over the top, he’s got to kick better in practice and learn new things.”

He’d also like to see some improvement in the kickoff game.

“One of my major things this offseason is I’ve got to get his field goal leg to equate to what he does on kickoffs,” Simmons said. “He has a very, very powerful field goal leg. It’s not that he doesn’t have a powerful kickoff leg, but we’ve got to get that power transferred into kickoffs more consistently than we did this year.”

INGLEWOOD, CALIFORNIA - FEBRUARY 13: Evan McPherson #2 of the Cincinnati Bengals warms up prior to Super Bowl LVI at SoFi Stadium on February 13, 2022 in Inglewood, California.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Evan McPherson got on the wrong side of his position coach. (Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

To an extent, Simmons is just doing his job here. His singular professional task is to get the most out of the Cincinnati Bengals special teams, and part of that that means finding ways for McPherson to improve from outstanding to … even more outstanding.

And yeah. McPherson watching the show was fine and funny as long as he’s getting his job done on the field. But maybe it wasn’t the wisest choice or the best look in a team sport as regimented as football.

Likewise, it might not be best for Simmons and the Bengals to let this particular “sore subject” linger over what’s looking very much like a good thing.

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