By Ashley Dunkak
ALLEN PARK (CBS DETROIT) – The Detroit Lions have not yet decided whether to go with Nate Freese or Giorgio Tavecchio as their kicker this season, so the duo will take turns at the position in the team’s preseason game Friday.
“We’re going to rotate the place kicking duties,” Lions head coach Jim Caldwell said. “One will kick maybe the first opportunity, then the next guy will kick the next opportunity, and we’ll go back and forth. So we can get a little bit of a different evaluation rather than waiting until the second half to give Giorgio Tavecchio a shot, we’re going to do so early on.
“I think there’s some fairness there,” Caldwell added. “It gives both guys an opportunity to kick in a portion of the game that is similar. So we just think we can probably do a little bit better job evaluating if we do it that way.”
Punter Sam Martin will handle kickoffs at the beginning of the game, Caldwell said, but those duties are still up for grabs as well.
As much as kickoffs matter, most of the intrigue surrounds whose foot will be booting field goals and extra points – the 24-year-old Freese, whom the team drafted in the seventh round this year, or the 24-year-old Tavecchio.
In the first preseason game, Freese made two field goals, once from 37 yards out and one from 32, while Tavecchio made an extra point. In the second preseason game, Tavecchio made a 25-yard field goal and an extra point, and Freese made a 55-yard field but missed one of two extra points he attempted.
“It’s day by day, it really is,” Caldwell said. “It’s hard. Those guys, like I said, have been kicking well in practice, besides one or two here that somebody might have missed. The competition has been good. It’s been good for both, but it’s been difficult for us to sort out.”