Dave Rayner did a great job filling in for the injured Jason Hanson to finish out the 2010 season. He made some big kicks that were instrumental in the team’s four game winning streak to close out the year so it is natural that the team would be interested in keeping him around. Just don’t go overboard and expect him to be on even-footing with Jason Hanson when training camp opens.
The kicking job came up as a topic in Tom Kowalski’s mailbag segment on mlive.com today and he responded this way:
Rayner had an excellent season last year and he deserves a shot if Hanson’s health is too much of a question mark.
But know this – if Hanson is healthy, there’s no debate here. Hanson has put up an amazing track record of consistency and excellence. He’s a proven commodity while Rayner has bounced around the league and had one good year. Rayner’s biggest problem is mechanics because he tends to slip into some bad habits from time to time and that’s been his greatest demon – I’m sure he would tell you that himself.
All things being equal, the Lions can count on Hanson’s consistency while Rayner’s is still a work in progress.
I’ll admit that it heartens me to hear this viewpoint. There isn’t much loyalty in sports these days but if there is one man that deserves to enjoy the Lions ascent more than any other it is Jason Hanson. He had the opportunity to play on some decent teams in the 90s and has had to endure utter garbage ever since. I want to see him in the Honolulu blue and silver even some of his skills have eroded because of the knee injuries.
Perhaps Rayner can be Hanson’s replacement down the line but I hope that comes because Jason was been free to make the decision to walk away from the game rather than have that decision made for him.
Am I being overly sentimental about a kicker? I don’t know, you tell me.