Tuesday’s official roster trimmings around the NFL saw a number of surprising cuts by teams. Included in that group are the Detroit Lions, who cut down their 53-man roster without a kicker on the list.
Prior to this season, the Lions were Livin’ on a Prater with their long-time titanium toed placekicker, Matt Prater. From 2014-2020, Prater went 179-212 on field goals (84.4%) for the Lions, and was a Pro Bowl pick in 2016. The kicker, 37, signed with the Arizona Cardinals for a two-year deal over the offseason.
Arizona’s prior placekicker Zane Gonzalez tried out for the Lions’ official roster and was cut, alongside Randy Bullock, on Tuesday — leaving Detroit devoid of a kicker. The approach was mind-boggling to some, but head coach Dan Campbell’s got a strategy in mind to fill in the void by season’s start.
“We’ve got our eyes on a couple of guys and we’ll see where this thing goes,” assured Campbell, also joking with the media that the team would endure going for two points consistently, if desperate enough. “Until we know exactly what we’re going to do, I’m just going to reserve that right now. We had a competition and we’re going to wait and see where this thing plays out at.”
With the free agent market still including viable options at the position — Stephen Gostkowski, Dan Bailey, Chandler Catanzaro — the Lions’ patience is well intended, but their top-down transformation over the offseason bears some warranted hesitation from the fans on what to expect from their rebuilding team.
Trading away the franchise’s all-time best talent at quarterback, Detroit now shifts to playing behind Jared Goff, who’s proven to be the primary beneficiary of a Sean McVay system. Goff’s inconsistencies became a thorn in the side of the Rams, leading to their collective exhale once the team swapped for Matthew Stafford.
Detroit also inserted former tight end Dan Campbell as the head coach — whose interim coaching tenure, 5-7, with the Dolphins still leaves plenty to be desired as a leader.
As the rest of the NFC North boasts its potential for the playoff picture, Detroit finds themselves with a plan, behind closed doors, to overcome the Packers, Bears and Vikings. This may be the league’s best-kept secret, based on the Lions’ actual chances of winning the division.
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Follow along on Twitter: @AlejandroAveela