ALLEN PARK, Mich. -- The Detroit Lions will look a little different this week when their kickers step on the field.
For the first time this preseason, punter Sam Martin will likely handle some of the kickoff duties as he competes to hold on to that job along with his already-secure status as the team’s punter. Lions coach Jim Caldwell said Tuesday he has liked how both field goal kicking candidates – Giorgio Tavecchio and Nate Freese – have handled that spot as well.
The bigger wrinkle is how he’s going to handle Tavecchio and Freese during the game. In the first two games, Freese has been the kicker for the first half and Tavecchio the second half. Now, he is going to a rotational system for Friday’s game against Jacksonville.
One player will take one kick. The next player will take the next kick and so on and so forth.
“It’s one that, there’s some fairness there so it gives both guys an opportunity to kick in a portion of the game that’s similar,” Caldwell said. “We just think we can do a little bit better job evaluating if we do it that way.”
Tavecchio, through practices and games has appeared to be the more consistent kicker than Freese, but Freese also hit a 55-yard field goal against Oakland on Friday, an opportunity Tavecchio has not been given.
When asked if the kicking decision will be made by the deadline for the first round of cuts on Tuesday, Caldwell was non-committal.
“It’s day by day, it really is,” Caldwell said. “It’s hard. Those guys have been kicking well in practice and besides one or two here that they might have missed, the competition has been good.
“Good for both, but it’s been difficult for us to sort out.”