Coach Jim Zorn said that incumbent kicker Shaun Suisham is in danger of being beaten out by journeyman Dave Rayner.
Other than Suisham’s 52-yard try that was wide left against the Patriots — but that Zorn said was a factor — each man has only attempted — and made — one short field goal try in the three preseason games. Rayner has made all four of his extra points. Suisham converted his.
Rayner has kicked off to the 8, 3, 2 twice (once from five yards back after a penalty), 1, the goal line, 5 yards deep. Suisham has kicked off to the 3 and the 4.
Their 17 kicks combined in three games are 12 fewer than Suisham tried in the five preseason games in 2008 when he had no competition.
“It is very close,” Zorn said. “I’m very undecided about the situation. I’m waiting for the last possible minute to have to make that choice because there’s no clear-cut guy.”
Zorn said Suisham’s crash from 83 percent field goal accuracy in 2007 — his first full season — to 72 percent in 2008 is a factor in the decision.
“That comes into the weighing of that competition, no question about it,” Zorn said. “Every kick is hugely important. They had kind of a kickoff in practice [last week]. They were dead-on. Nobody missed a thing.”
— David Elfin