ALLEN PARK, Mich. -- It has been one of the closer competitions throughout camp. It may not get the attention of the fanbase even like the backup quarterback spot does, but no more competition will play a more critical role in the Detroit Lions' success this season than the one between Nate Freese and Giorgio Tavecchio.
Whichever kicker ends up being kept on the 53-man roster, it'll be his first time kicking for a NFL team in the regular season. And thus far, it has been somewhat equal. Tavecchio has been more consistent on a day-to-day basis, but hasn't received the game opportunities Freese has.
Freese, meanwhile, missed an extra point Friday but made a 55-yard field goal against the Oakland Raiders, so he showed he could make a long kick in a game. Games versus practice, Lions coach Jim Caldwell said, won't have different weights.
"There's no percentage associated with it," Caldwell said. "It's all taken into account. It really is. You just don't have enough time, particularly at their particular spot. You don't get into situations where they kick an inordinate amount in a ball game, the two of them, to make a difference. You can't orchestrate that, necessarily.
"But in practice time we try to do different things to try and give them an opportunity to compete against one another. So we try to take every single thing into account."
Something that could have been a key was who was working with starting holder Sam Martin, but Caldwell said Saturday that it was decided early on the two holders -- Martin and Drew Butler -- would stay with one kicker throughout camp. This meant Freese, who entered camp as the front runner, was with Martin and Tavecchio with Butler.
All along, Caldwell said results and not draft status would be the major determining factor, so it'll be interesting to see what happens whenever the Lions make a decision, be it this week or when final cuts are due following the preseason finale.
And now, a look at Lions news from around the Interwebs:
George Winn rushing to make the Lions roster. Lions practice report. Nick Fairley? Officially part of the second team. Calvin Johnson should make his debut Friday. The latest Lions projected roster. A look at offensive players versus Oakland. A look at defensive players versus Oakland. Reggie Bush ranked the 98th best offensive player.
The Lions have depth at wide receiver now, writes Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press.
Jim Caldwell values his leaders, writes Josh Katzenstein of the Detroit News.