Recently, the Lions signed kicker Dave Rayner to a one-year deal. Rayner came in after veteran Jason Hanson suffered an injury against the Jets. Rayner had played for six teams in five years before coming to the Lions but did a great job for the team in the last half of the season. He was 13 for 16 including game-tying and game-winning field goal at Tampa Bay to snap the 26-game road losing streak.
With the signing of Rayner, the Lions now have a competition between him and Jason Hanson. As we all know, Hanson has been the Lions kicker since I was born, 1992. Hanson has had minor surgeries the past two years but it didn’t affect him getting back before the start of the season. Jason Hanson is now 41 years old and is entering the end of his career. However, the new kickoff rules will help him and give him a better chance to stay with the Lions. In my opinion, I see the Lions sticking with Hanson. We know Hanson will always be reliable for the Lions (82 percent on his field goals in all his years for the team) where as Rayner had a great year last year, but has bounced from team to team in the past.
The other competitions is in the punting game. Undrafted rookie out of the University of Iowa, Ryan Donahue, agreed to terms with the Lions late Monday night. Donahue was had an impressive career at Iowa. He started every game for the Hawkeyes in his career, was honorable mention All-Big Ten every year, was up for the Ray Guy Award (Best Punter in College Football) for the last three years at Iowa, and had an average of 44.6 yards per punt (ranking 15th) last year. Current Punter, Nick Harris, does not seemed phased by the signing at all.
Here is what Harris had to say:
I think I’ve had a consistent, solid career. I thought I had a good year last year. So I wouldn’t expect a full-blown change is being made.
If you want to read more about Ryan Donahue, here is a little scouting report/bio on him.