Wednesday, December 14, 2011

No-o-o-lindo Mare and the confidence question

So the Panthers have signed another kicker to compete with Olindo Mare following Mare's second huge fourth-quarter miss under 40 yards of the season -- last Sunday in a loss to Atlanta.

Good for them. Sticking stubbornly with Mare just because they paid him so much money to replace John Kasay would be silly at this point. The question is how much confidence Mare has lost and whether it can be regained, and we won't know the answer to that one until when (and if) he puts some of these misses far in his rear-view mirror.

Kunalic is not a household name in his own household -- he didn't even kick field goals in college, but was a kickoff specialist at Nebraska. So he's not all that different from Mare -- who remains on the roster -- except that he's younger and would be cheaper to employ.

Like Mare, Kunalic has a strong leg that can reach the end zone for touchbacks but is far from a sure thing with a game on the line.

At least the Panthers are doing something to try and answer the "No-o-o-lindo" question. Releasing Kasay has long been the 2011 team's most questionable offseason move. Kasay has made 98 percent of his field goals from under 40 yards over the past four years -- they are like extra points to him -- and he is now flourishing in New Orleans.

No, Kasay couldn't reach the end zone on kickoffs any longer. But the Panthers had another option there if they were dead set on not having two kickers on the roster as they did for the latter part of John Fox's tenure. They could have kept Kasay, released punter Jason Baker instead and gotten a punter who could also kick off like some other NFL teams do.

You can see why the Panthers would try to get a two-for-one roster spot special in Mare, who was paid a $4 million signing bonus as part of a $12-million, four-year deal. But he hasn't been performing in the clutch.

I think the early-season blocks may have affected him (Mare has had two field goals and an extra point blocked) and he's now trying to get the ball off too quickly, which makes him yank kicks sometimes. That's just a layman's opinion.

But whatever the reason for Mare's miscues, at least the Panthers are trying to tinker with this critical position now -- again -- after they tried over the summer to fix a position that was never really broken.

19 comments:

Anonymous said...

there were high school kids in the stands that could've made that 35 yarder on Sunday.

Nolindo is right!

why did they sign a kick off specialist? hurney is a moron.

Greg said...

This kid was booting 60 yarders to get out of an extra session of work back in training camp. He might as well have a cannon strapped to his leg. The kid can straight bomb the football downfield.

Anonymous said...

ocho cinco can kick and we could use him at WR now and then.

sign him on the cheap hurney, it wouldn't be any worse than any other moves you are making.

Anonymous said...

the guy they signed almost never kicked FG or EP in college....this is stupid.

Anonymous said...

www.firehurney.com

Anonymous said...

Test the newby kicker, record doesn't matter now and hasn't for weeks. Just try to be better over the next few weeks is all ask. Finish the game if we're leading and secure the W. Finish the season strong into next season.

Anonymous said...

Yea its all the kickers fault ...

blame the damn kicker ... he caused it all ... its the damn kickers fault ... nobody else ...

dumb dumb dumb

Anonymous said...

Having a punter that can also kickoff makes the most sense. There was a comment yesterday that suggested Richardson was responsible for letting go of Kasay because of things that happened in labor negotiations. Whomever the CO sends to New Orleans in a couple of weeks MUST ask Kasay if he revealed anything to the union that would upset Richardson.

Anonymous said...

let cam kick fg's and open up a roster spot.

Anonymous said...

At least the dumb comments that said good for letting Kasey go because he kicked the SB kick out of bounds have stopped. I think we now see just how valuable John Kasey was to this team.

Anonymous said...

A punt returner would be nice as well. The AE experiment should end now...

Anonymous said...

I knew this was going to happen after he started sitting there with the towel on his head after that miss against the vikings.

Anonymous said...

In the history of the sport, there have been only a very few that could be counted on almost every time.....and the Panthers had one of them in Kasay. He almost never missed. The others come and go.

Trading Kasay was a mistake, not only for his ability, but for his tenure on the team. He would have voluntarily walked away when he could no longer be useful to the team. The Panthers traded the only sure thing they had, but sometimes that happens.

Anonymous said...

We traded Kasay?

What did we get for him?

Anonymous said...

Shane Graham was cut after missing a field goal in Green Bay. Mare's had 2 key misses under 40 yards, 2 field goals and an extra point blocked. and he's still on the roster?

Anonymous said...

Changing kickers? Panthers are just rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.

EuroCat said...

anon 6:17, Shayne Graham was not cut - at least not by the Panthers - after he missed his first FG attempt with the team in Green Bay (after signing on Friday and never even practicing with the snapper and holder before arriving in GB).

No, Hurney and Fox kept him...and he went on to compile a fairly decent season for us in 2002. Then, after going to the Bengals, he went to the pro bowl for the AFC in 2004. Anyway, the situations aren't comparable: Graham was practically a rookie in 2002, making minimum wage, while Mare is a highly experienced veteran being paid millions.

Carolina is not in the habit of firing kickers for one miss...heck, they even kept Richie Cunningham for several games! But I believe that at this point Mare needs to go. As for Kunalic as a long-term replacement...who knows? I'm not optimistic.

in 20-20 hindsight, I'm with the people who think that we should have kept Kasay and replaced Baker with a punter/KO specialist, though. Baker's punting has been horrible this year. Somebody like Sauerbrun would have been a great addition at the start of the season. Sauerbrun was fine until the 'roids and the booze got to him.

Anonymous said...

I have to admit I had not thought of the possibility that we could have kept Kasay and dumped Baker. Why can't Baker kick off? It does seem to be fairly common in the NFL to have a punter who handles kickoffs.

Mare clearly cost us the Vikings game, and I think the Falcons game too. To all the people who say "heck, the Falcons scored two plays later," I'd give the D more credit. This is an emotional game, and coming onto the field after a kick off with the lead is A LOT different than having to trot out behind after a missed (easy) field goal.

Anonymous said...

A team's player rep being released? Not at all unusual across all pro sports. Team owners are not used to being told they can't have what they want, and player reps represent the collective no of all players. I find it difficult to believe that Jerry Richardson didn't have a hand in the Kasey release.