Through two preseason games, the Detroit Lions have sent out rookie Nate Freese to handle the kicking duties in the first half with Giorgio Tavecchio taking over for the second half.
No leader has been declared officially, but it seemed as if Freese held a lead, however slight, due to his status working in games with Sam Martin as holder.
Jim Caldwell unveiled the new plan for the third preseason game when meeting with the media at practice today:
Now, what we’re going to do this week which is going to be a little different, you’re probably going to see at the onset of the game maybe Sam (Martin) kicking off. Probably just to make certain we get a look at Sam and give him an opportunity. Then we’re going to rotate the place kicking duties. So it will happen. One will kick maybe the first opportunity, then the next guy will kick the next opportunity and we’ll go back and forth. So we can get a little bit of a different evaluation rather than waiting till the second half to give Giorgio (Tavecchio) a shot, we’re going to do so early on. So that’s going to be a little different.
So rather than giving each guy a half, expect Freese and Tavecchio to alternate attempts against the Jaguars on Friday. An indication the kicker battle is a dead-heat? Perhaps.
Neither guy has done much to pull ahead of the other. Reports out of practice have indicated that Tavecchio has been the more consistent of the two, but Freese has had impressive moments such as his 55-yard field goal last week against the Raiders.
At the very least, this change in how the kickers will be used on Friday appears to be a reward for Tavecchio while maintaining that either man could win the job.