As the Lions have risen back into the ranks of the relevant I find myself rooting for certain individuals as well as the team. While it was nice to see guys like Jeff Backus and Dominic Raiola experience a winning atmosphere for the first time in their careers, I felt particularly good for Jason Hanson.
Hanson had been to the playoffs with the Lions before and while the saying goes “it is better to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all”, you have to wonder if Jason Hanson thought he’d ever get to “love” with the Lions again. Fortunately, Hanson entered training camp healthy and beat out Dave Rayner for the Lions’ kicking duties. Even after a successful 20th NFL season, Jason Hanson is willing to keep fighting for his job.
I wish it was the luxury of saying, ‘Hey, I’m coming back,’ and then it’s just me. But that’s never how it’s going to be. But I’ll be working to be the guy again.
It is clear that some competition is expected but that doesn’t mean the Lions should be itching to find Hanson’s replacement like they did with punter Nick Harris a year ago. Hanson’s five made field goals of 50 yards or more shows he still has plenty of leg while his 82.8% success rate on field goals in 2011 was a tick above his career average of 81.9%.
With neither power nor accuracy currently and issue there is no reason to invite anything more than an insurance policy of a kicker to training camp next summer. Hanson deserves to have no competition other than his own body. If Hanson is healthy in September, the job should be his.