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Friday, September 12, 2008
Why a banged-up team keeps two kickers

By Mike Sando
ESPN.com

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

CoutuMare

Few teams can justify carrying two kickers on their 53-man rosters. The Seahawks, with injuries wiping out starters at multiple positions, would seem to have no such luxury. But here they are, entering Week 2 with two kickers among a bloated group of four specialists.

Seattle is one of only six teams carrying fewer than nine offensive linemen. The Seahawks are one of only four teams carrying fewer than nine defensive backs. Seattle is the only team in the league carrying fewer than nine offensive linemen and fewer than nine defensive backs. The team has six receivers, but only four appear healthy enough to play.

Teams make difficult roster decisions all the time. Seattle will have to make another one if the team decides to sign receiver Michael Bumpus from the practice squad Saturday. The team's decision to keep two kickers -- Brandon Coutu and Olindo Mare -- at the expense of other positions does seem extreme. The decision can mean only one thing: Seattle likes Coutu's long-term prospects enough to keep him around even while Mare, with his stronger leg, booms kickoffs through the end zone during games.

The Seahawks couldn't know if a team would claim recently released running back Justin Forsett off waivers. By their actions, the Seahawks clearly feel a team would snap up Coutu if Seattle tried to place him on its practice squad.

Indianapolis was the only team in the league to claim Forsett off waivers when Seattle released him. The Colts, in preparing for their opener against the Bears, surely saw Forsett's breakout game against Chicago during the preseason. We'll have to see if Forsett sticks in Indianapolis and produces. And we'll have to see how Coutu performs over the long term. Only then will we know if the rookie kicker was worth the roster machinations required to keep him.