Special Teams Coordinator Greg McMahon said that the kicker battle between John Kasay and Garrett Hartley will come down to the wire and a decision will not be made until following the last preseason game.
McMahon has been the Special Teams Coordinator since 2008. In his time with the club, the special teams unit has been defined by solid performances in the kicking game, the coverage units and in the return game. With two experienced kickers on the roster this preseason, McMahon wants to make sure the competition plays out before making a decision.
"We are going to go the last two games and just let it play out," said McMahon. "That is what we decided to do going into camp. We will stay true to that."
Assistant Head Coach/Linebackers agreed with McMahon about allowing the kicking competition to continue through the remainder of the preseason.
"I think it is a great battle," said Vitt. "We have two more games left. They have been competing every day in practice, they have been competing in the games, let's let it play out."
Kasay is a 21-year veteran who joined the Saints in 2011. The league's longest tenured player came to New Orleans after a preseason injury to Hartley that caused him to miss the entire 2011 season. Last season, Kasay set a franchise record by scoring 144 points while connecting on 28-of-34 field goals (82.4%). So far in this preseason, Kasay has connected on two of his four attempts with one miss coming from a 54-yard attempt that was blocked.
Hartley joined the team after the start of the 2008 season and has already made some of the most significant kicks in Saints history. The young kicker split the uprights from 40-yards in overtime to defeat the Minnesota Vikings in the 2009 NFC Championship Game to send the Saints to Super Bowl XLIV. In the club's first ever Super Bowl appearance, Hartley became the first player in NFL history to kick three field goals of 40-or-more yards in the Super Bowl. For his career, Hartley has been perfect in the postseason, connecting on all eight of his field goal attempts and all 15 PATs in five postseason contests. This preseason, Hartley has made both of his two attempted field goals from 27-yards and 37-yards.
The two kickers have spent most of the offseason competing against each other, both in practice and in preseason games. Although they are competing, both Saints kickers have a great deal of respect for each other.
"John is a true professional at his craft and as a person," said Hartley. "It's an honor working with him day in and day out."