Now that we had a first look at our possible 53 man roster, I figured the next logical step would be a position by position breakdown. So over the next few weeks we will have the chance to dive a bit deeper into each position and try to determine which players will be the best fit for team. I'm going to start with an easy and often unglamorous position, the kickers.
Since I really don't think the question is "are the Panthers going to keep both", because we know they are, but rather do WE, the fans, think H&F (Hurney & Fox) should look for alternative options to free the extra roster spot. Starting field position can play a big role in the outcome of the game. However, saying that early in the season Jeff King was the next on the depth chart to be placed in as an offensive lineman, having an extra body on the sideline for kicking duties can be a negative.
Last year we carried both a kickoff specialist and place kicker with Rhys Lloyd and John Kasay respectively. Nobody can argue against improvements in the kickoff game. Just look at the stats from 2008 compared to 2007.
|Stat||2008 / Rank||2007 / Rank|
|Kickoffs||90 / T-7th
||66 / T-27th|
|Total Yds||6008 / 6th||4042 / 28th|
|Average||66.8 / 2th*||61.2 / 25th|
|Touchbacks||30 / 1st||4 / 29th|
|Touchback %||59% / 1st||6.1% / 28th|
|Out of bounds||1 / T-12nd **||6 / 32nd|
In 2007 we didn't finish above 27th in any category, while in 2008 we finished no lower than 7th, a major improvement to say the least. I should also point out that Lloyd only had 88 of our kickoff attempts leaving Kasay with the other two. Of those two one was an onside kick vs Atlanta in week 12, the other was in then our last game of the season against the Saints and it only went 30 yards OUT OF BOUNDS at the end of the game, bringing back oh so lovely memories of Superbowl XXXVIII.
|Kasay's 2008 Field Goal Stats|
|Field Goal Totals
||FGA||Pct / Rank
||Blk||Lng / Rank
||31||90 / 6th^
||0||50 / T-24th
Kasay signed a new contact last year through 2012, so he can finish he career as a Panther. He's the last player from the Panthers first season in 1995, which is quite amazing. His 2009 salary is $1.5 million. On the other hand Lloyd's salary is $460,000 and will be a free agent after 2009.
In 2008 there were only nine kickers and punter that had a salary higher than two million dollars. So is it worth having nearly $2 million tied up in the kicker positions? What do you think the Panthers should do regarding the kicker position?
* With more than one kickoff
** First twelve teams had zero, next thirteen teams had one out of bounds
^Excluding the two kickers that attempted and made only one field goal