The Detroit Lions' quest to replace Jason Hanson has not exactly gone very well. Last year, the Lions went with David Akers, and although he only missed five kicks (a couple of which were blocked), he was fairly inconsistent. This year, with Akers gone, the Lions spent a seventh-round pick on Nate Freese, and he has already missed three kicks in two games.
I know it's early in the season, and it's early in Freese's career considering he's a rookie, but the Lions need to start looking at other options at kicker. Freese is 2-for-5 so far this season, and there's absolutely no reason for the Lions to have any confidence in him, especially on longer kicks. He missed a pair of 49-yard attempts on Sunday against the Carolina Panthers, and the Lions would have been much better positioned to win had he made even one of those kicks.
Following Sunday's loss to the Panthers, Lions head coach Jim Caldwell made it clear that the team isn't going to overreact when it comes to Freese, but it appears that they are going to at least consider other options.
Caldwell on bringing in FAs to compete with Freese at kicker (1/2): "We're not going to make any rash decisions 5 minutes after the game..."— Kyle Meinke (@kmeinke) September 14, 2014
Caldwell (2/2): " We certainly want to take a look at all our options, and see where we'd like to go from there."— Kyle Meinke (@kmeinke) September 14, 2014
What options do the Lions have if they decide that Freese isn't the answer going forward? They could re-sign Giorgio Tavecchio, who by all accounts outperformed Freese during training camp but was released anyway. They could also sign a veteran free agent.
Just in case #Lions want to look at kickers--best available:Rob Bironas, Connor Barth, Alex Henery, Rian Lindell, Jay Feely...— Adam Caplan (@caplannfl) September 14, 2014
At the very least, the Lions better bring in some kickers to try out for them this week. I know they used a draft pick on Freese and envisioned him as their kicker for the foreseeable future, but the Lions don't have time to wait for him to figure things out. They can't afford to miss field goals each week if they want to consistently win games, so unless he shows immediate improvement, the Lions are going to have to pull the plug on the Freese experiment.