I know the Detroit Lions were hoping that kicker Alex Henery would be the answer after rookie Nate Freese was released but that’s clearly not going to happen. Henery missed all three of his field goal attempts on Sunday, including one that would have potentially won the game, putting him at 1-for-5, and adding to the Lions unimpressive kicking trend where Lions kickers are now 1-for-9 this season on field goals longer than 30 yards, which is not only unacceptable at this point season, but just plain disappointing.
Although some fans might have thought that Henery wouldn’t have much to say or would try to avoid conversation. To his credit, Henery was ready to accept blame for costing his team the victory against the Bills.
“I blame myself,” Henery said after the game Sunday. “As a man, I stand up. I’m the one kicking the ball. As the kicker, I’ve got to make those kicks. I’m not looking to blame anyone else.”
While it’s good to see Henery take the blame for his part in the Lions loss to the Bills. I noticed that Henery did contradict himself somewhat when he said that he isn’t looking to blame anyone because soon after that, he did hint that there were some inconsistencies in the entire kicking process.
“We have to be able to perform in those situations on deeper kicks,” Henery said. “One thing can’t be off or else you tend to kick like that. We’ve got to get better. It’s not one little thing, it’s as a group, the three of us.”
Now when Henery says the “three of us”, he is referring to long snapper Don Mulbach and holder Sam Martin. While I can accept that there may be some inconsistencies in the entire kicking process, it doesn’t change the fact that Henery hasn’t performed well.
Now are the holder and long snapper a key part to the success of kicker? Yes, absolutely.
However, from what I have seen, Henery’s kicking accuracy drops with longer attempts, which has nothing to do with the holder or the long snapper. Even though Henery is saying that he is committed to performing better, the Lions don’t have time to wait or wonder if he will perform better. Head coach Jim Caldwell said it best during the post game presser when he said that, “this is a performance-based league.”
“One of the things that I’ll continue to say and that goes for me or anyone else that plays this game, in this league, it’s a performance-based league, plain and simple and you have to perform.” Caldwell said. “Anyone that doesn’t, we take a look and see if we can improve that one way or another. That’s our obligation to obviously our fans, our team, our organization. So, we’ll do just that.”
Of course, if you have a Twitter account, you probably know that just about every Lion fan wants the Lions to take a look at kicker Matt Prater, who was released by the Denver Broncos last week after the team decided to stick with Brandon McManus.
I don’t know about you but I think the Lions should give Prater a call. Last season, Prater went 25-for-26 on field goals while making all 75 of his extra points. Not to long ago, he was considered by some to be the best kicker in the NFL, after he made 51-of-54 attempts in the fourth quarter or overtime, not to mention the 64-yard field goal he made last season. Although, he has had some off the field issues recently, considering Prater was released by the Broncos, as soon as he was set to return from a four-game suspension for violating the NFL’s substance-abuse policy. I still like to think Caldwell and his staff could keep him in check and out of trouble, if they did indeed decide to sign him.
Overall, I think the Lions should take a look at him and bring him in for workout. He has a long track record for hitting kicks from everywhere, and doing so in the clutch, making him a good consistent piece that the Lions should be able to count on. So as the Lions head into Monday, we will see if the Lions act quickly or drag their feet when it comes to having Prater as their next kicker.
Written by LBeasley (Lauren Beasley), Sports Editor of Radio One Detroit
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