Saints should stick with John Kasay

September, 2, 2011
9/02/11
10:59
AM ET
With the start of the regular season just days away, the New Orleans Saints suddenly seem to have a major problem.

John Kasay, the veteran kicker the team signed earlier this week, missed a field goal attempt and an extra point attempt in Thursday night’s preseason finale. Kasay was signed after regular kicker Garrett Hartley injured his hip.

Kasay
There are reports Hartley could be out anywhere from six to 10 weeks, but coach Sean Payton after Thursday night’s game called those reports inaccurate. He said if Hartley was going to be out that long he probably would be placed on the injured reserve list and indicated that’s not in the plans.

Still, it appears obvious Hartley will miss at least several games. Can the Saints afford to stick with Kasay after what they saw Thursday?

Payton hasn’t always shown a great deal of patience with kickers. But, in this case, I think he needs to be sure he doesn’t overreact. I wouldn’t go judging Kasay on one game.

He’s made a bunch of clutch kicks in his career and there aren’t many guys I’d rather have lining up for a field goal with the game on the line. Kasay is 41 and had been out of work for more than a month after the Carolina Panthers released him.

Although Kasay had been working out on his own, he’s had very little practice time with the Saints. He kicks with his left leg and that means there’s an adjustment period for the holders.

Lots of other kickers will come free as teams cut their rosters to 53 players by Saturday evening. It might be tempting to grab one of them and scrap Kasay.

But that also might end up being a mistake. Maybe Kasay just needs a little time to adjust to a new holder and long-snapper.

You don’t know what you’re getting with another kicker. Despite Thursday night’s performance, you know what you’re getting with Kasay. You’re getting a guy who’s been consistent throughout his career and made plenty of big kicks.

Pat Yasinskas | email

ESPN Tampa Bay Buccaneers reporter

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