Usually there’s two things you can take out of a team bringing a second kicker to the roster. Either the team is preserving their starter’s leg for the regular season, so the team will bring in someone else to use for the majority of the preseason or the team, not being sure it has the production it wants out of its place kicker, offers up the roster spot to the winner of a position battle.
The Seattle Seahawks did something that rarely ever happens in the NFL.
Instead of doing either of those two options, the Seahawks decided to keep both veteran Olindo Mare and then rookie Brandon Coutu throughout the season despite never letting Coutu enter a game. Seattle kept Coutu on its 53-man roster last year instead of cutting him and attempting to put him on its practice squad because the team was afraid the former college standout would get picked up by another team before clearing waivers
Under new head coach Jim Mora Jr., this won’t happen for a second year.
Mare made 88.9 percent of his field goals for the Seahawks last year, going 24 of 27 with a long of 51 yards.
In college, Coutu never missed a PAT and had a career field goal accuracy of 80.3 percent while kicking for the University of Georgia Bulldogs. What kept Coutu, a seventh round selection in the 2008 NFL Draft, out of games last season was his inability to kick the football off deep.
To fix that, Coutu spent a portion of the offseason working with NFL kicking legend Morten Anderson.
After three preseason games, Coutu appears to have the edge on Mare.
Coutu has made all three of his PAT opportunities and has converted four of five field goal attempts, with his longest made coming from 52 yards out.
Mare has hit all four of his PAT’s, but has missed both of the field goal attempts that he’s had thus far. One of his misses coming from 51 yards, the other was what should have been an easy 27 yarder.
When it comes to average kick off distance, Mare still holds a slight advantage.
Through the two preseason games Mare’s played this preseason (Weeks Two and Three), the veteran averaged 66 and 63.5 yards, respectively, on a total of three kick offs.
Coutu, having played in all three preseason games, has had eight more kick offs than Mare. The Georgia product averaged 64.2 yards in Week One, 59.4 yards in Week Two and 61 yards in Seattle’s third preseason game.
Despite being a few yards shorter on his kick offs, Coutu should win the position battle. Mare missed much of the early portion of the preseason due to an injury, giving Coutu plenty of opportunity to show off his new and improved abilities.
I believe, thanks to his offseason workouts with Anderson and due to the extra game reps courtesy of Mare’s injury, Coutu has done enough to prove to the Seahawks’ coaching staff and front office that the team did not waste a draft choice on the place kicker and that he will be kicking in Seattle for years to come.