Seven field goal attempts, four field goals made for an overall field goal percentage of 57.1, the stat line kicker Garrett Hartley has put up in three games this season.
Against Minnesota he was 0-2, then against Atlanta yesterday 1-1, it just so happens to be that the one field goal he missed, a 29 yard chip shot, could have won the game for the Saints in OT.
Instead he booted it wide left, a sight becoming an all too familiar occurrence, and gave the ball back to Atlanta who in turn gave the ball over to their kicker Matt Bryant who nailed the 46 yard attempt for the win.
The Saints should be 3-0 right now with the lead in the NFC South, what a difference a kick can make.
Reports surfaced almost immediately that the Saints would bring in kickers for try-outs in an attempt to replace Hartley in the lineup.
No one yet knows for sure if his replacement in the lineup will be temporary or if he will be shown the door for good.
If indeed a move is made that ensures Hartley will never again be back with the Saints his departure will surely be bitter sweet for fans and players alike.
It’s certainly easy to forget Hartely’s heroics during the Saints Super Bowl run last season given his recent problems but he did kick the Saints to a win in the NFC Championship game only to follow that performance with a perfect showing in the Super Bowl kicking three field goals of forty or more yards, a new record for a Super Bowl game.
The NFL however is famously known to be a league with the mentality of “what have you done for me lately”, and for Hartley the lately is pretty bad.
A likely candidate to replace him is kicker John Carney, a 46 year old semi-retired veteran kicker with 22 years of playing experience under his belt.
Carney appeared in eleven games last season with the Saints before being replaced by Hartley in week thirteen of the regular season because of inconsistencies he experienced while kicking field goals and extra points.
In fact Carney hit only 76.5 percent of his field goal attempts (14 of 17) and 96.2 percent of extra point attempts (50 of 52) before being replaced.
At first glance it would appear that replacing Hartley with Carney will really not make much of a difference at all, but what other options do the Saints have?
There are currently some big free agent names available and the Saints could surely turn there for a potential Hartley replacement.
Matt Stover, Shayne Graham and Kris Brown are among the most notable free agents available and if you have to pick the biggest fish out of the bunch it would definitely be former Texan kicker Kris Brown.
Brown has been in the league since 1999 spending three seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers and the last eight seasons with the Houston Texans, he was released this pre-seasson after a rough 2009 in which he completed only 65.6 percent of his kicks (21 of 32).
Whatever the Saints do Hartley knows that his job is in jeopardy and that he must get back to fundamentals if he has any chance of sticking with the team and spoke on the possibility of being replaced by John Carney. (Sourced from article on NOLA.com)
"John Carney is an amazing person and a friend of mine. And at the same time, it’s a business, and it’s kind of one of the hardest things to understand, especially coming into my third year. And now things have been a roller coaster the first three games. But if John comes in, then whatever the coaches decide, like I said, that’s out of my control. The only thing I can control is my attitude and how I go about my daily schedule, my routine, and focus on what I can do to get better.And then being my worst critic is myself, obviously I expect high things and I set the bar high,” Hartley said. “And like I said last night and yesterday, that was un-excusable. So coming out here, I have to have a positive attitude, that’s the most important thing. Telling myself I got this job for a reason. I came out here and I competed and I earned it. So I’m gonna do everything that I can to not just have my job but go out there and do great things for this team."
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