Steve - It's a ''foot race:'' The Saints kicking battle!
It may not be the most exciting position to talk about; as a matter of fact the only time kickers really get the headlines is when they MISS! But the biggest roster battle this training camp just may be between Garrett Hartley and John Kasay.
Initially, it seemed as if Hartley would regain his job after missing last season with a hip injury that he suffered in the 3rd preseason game versus Oakland. Then things got a bit interesting in the spring when Kasay was brought back to challenge the young buck that kicked the Saints into Super Bowl 42.
While the magic of the 2009 season sticks in the mind of most, Hartley’s 2010 wasn’t freezing over hell or causing pigs to fly. He made only 80 percent of his tries, and missed a field-goal attempt against Atlanta in the third game of the season that would haunt the Saints all year long.
Kasay was solid last year, filling in for the injured Hartley, hitting 82.4 percent of his kicks while setting a franchise record with 147 points last season. Thank Drew Brees and the league’s most dangerous offense for all those point after attempts.
But Kasay is definitely going to give Hartley a run for his money, and I mean that literally.
The Saints gave Hartley a contract extension before the start of last season that makes him the highest paid kicker in the game. He is entering year 2 of his 5 year $10.3 million deal, with roughly $3 million of that guaranteed.
So with a sizable investment and youth on his side, the gig is Harley’s to lose. He has the better leg when his mind is right, but special teams coordinator Greg McMahon insists there will be an "open competition." If the youngster starts shanking ‘em in the preseason, the seasoned vet could be the one with the "leg up."