Saints work out kickers; none signed

With Garrett Hartley struggling, the New Orleans Saints worked out a group of kickers, according to ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter. The Saints don’t immediately plan to replace Hartley, according to Schefter, who cited a league source. But they wanted to update their emergency list in the event Hartley continues to struggle.

The workout included kickers Derek Simke, Shayne Graham and Neil Rackers.

It’s probably wise for the Saints to remain patient with Hartley, who has missed four of his past six field-goal attempts.

Hartley, 27, has gone through a few of these slumps throughout his six-year career, but he has always been able to bounce back. And few kickers would offer more security at a position that is so susceptible to highs and lows.

Hartley is now 16 of 22 for field-goal attempts on the season.

"Like anything else it's just the consistency,” Saints coach Sean Payton said when asked about Hartley on Monday. “He's got the leg strength. He started off the season very well and last week hit a big one for us in New York. It's just the consistency.”

Hartley’s funk started when he missed three straight field goals during Weeks 8 and 9. But he had appeared to right the ship when he nailed a career-long 55-yarder and a 43-yarder in the second half of that Week 9 game -- a 26-20 loss at the New York Jets.

Then Hartley missed a 37-yarder that he pushed wide right in this past Sunday night’s 49-17 victory over the Dallas Cowboys.

Hartley had a solid 2012 season, making 18 of 22 field-goal attempts. Before that, his career was a roller coaster ride.

In 2009, Hartley served a four-game suspension to start the season after testing positive for a banned stimulant -- then he struggled with his consistency when he finally won the job back in December. But then he became a postseason hero that year, making the game-winning field goal in overtime of the NFC championship game and making three long field goals in the Super Bowl.

However, in 2010, Hartley struggled again and temporarily lost his job before bouncing back. Then in 2011, he missed the entire season with a hip injury.

For his career, Hartley has made 79 of 96 field goal attempts, including the playoffs (82.3 percent).