Dan Campbell Offers Key Update About Lions’ Kicker Position

Ryan Santoso

Getty Ryan Santoso attempts a field goal against the Steelers in 2021.

It wasn’t a stellar day for the Detroit Lions’ kicking game in a tie against the Pittsburgh Steelers, and it could be argued that the team failed to win thanks to their kicker alone.

Ryan Santoso was elevated to the roster thanks to an injury to Austin Seibert, and it wasn’t a banner day for the special teams based on that performance alone. Santoso whiffed on an extra point and a game-winning field goal, both of which could have proved the difference for the team in the end. With that in mind, the Lions are indeed looking around and trying to find a new kicker for Week 11.

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Speaking to the media on Monday, November 15, Campbell was asked about the kicking situation and confirmed the team would be getting a look at some other players this week.

Detroit Lions Media Availability: Nov. 15, 2021 | Dan CampbellDetroit Lions head coach Dan Campbell's speaking to the media Nov. 15, 2021. Subscribe to the Lions YT Channel: bit.ly/2OABzdx More Lions NFL Action: bit.ly/2oxtfjX #DetroitLions #Lions #NFL Keep up-to-date on all things Lions: Visit detroitlions.com/ Follow: twitter.com/Lions Follow: instagram.com/detroitlionsnfl/ Like: facebook.com/DetroitLions2021-11-15T19:31:14Z

“We’re gonna bring some guys in and work them out and see who the best man for the job is,” Campbell said honestly on Monday when asked about his take on the kicker situation.

Specifically, Campbell didn’t blame the snap or the hold in either case for Santoso, both of which he confirmed were proper.

“The procedure was good, the snap, the hold on both was good. Nope, they did a good job with the procedure,” Campbell said.

Here’s a look at the miss, which has made waves around the NFL:

Campbell’s brevity may say everything as it relates to the situation. It’s clear the coach was not happy with the missed kicks and knows how dearly it cost his team. As a result, a new player could indeed be coming to town this week.

What Free Agent Kickers Could Lions Sign?

At the moment, there are multiple ways the Lions could go at kicker. The team could elect for a veteran, such as Eddy Pineiro, Chris Blewitt, Josh Lambo or Brett Maher, as all are free agents. Detroit could also look for a younger option from a team’s practice squad if left unprotected, such as Jake Verity in Baltimore.

Perhaps Detroit’s best option could be Pineiro considering he knows the division and is a free agent. He also has done a decent job in his past stops as this video shows:

Eddy Pineiro All 2019 Field GoalsᴴᴰEvery single Eddy Pineiro Field Goal of the 2019 season with the Chicago Bears. Eddie Pineiro Rookie Season Highlights 2019-2020. Music Used: MASE – Psycho! (I MIGHT JUST GO PSYCHO) youtube.com/watch?v=fDULpW2sB_o Chicago Bears Highlights/Hype/Cinematic/Motivation/Inspiring All Eddy Pineiro field goals/ Every single Eddie pineiro rookie kick/ Eddie pineiro rookie season highlights Chicago Bears. Facebook: facebook.com/ChicagoBearsProductionsYT/ Instagram:…2020-02-11T13:30:10Z

At 26, Pineiro could be a potential short and long term option for the team. The Lions are clearly struggling at kicker and need a boost, and he could provide it.

Santoso’s Stats & Career Highlights

Many might forget that the Lions had Santoso in camp last season as a punter and kicker, but elected to let him go. He wasn’t able to make the roster with Jack Fox and Matt Prater entrenched at the position, so he went elsewhere. Santoso’s route back to Detroit was an intriguing one. He signed with the Tennessee Titans last year and played in three games racking up 1,018 yards and 9 touchbacks as a kickoff specialist. From there, he landed with the New York Giants, and though he kicked well, did not earn the job out of camp. He was spun off to the Panthers again via trade, but did not stick as the kicker. He then was signed to the Titans practice squad. The Lions added him to their practice squad to account for losing Zane Gonzalez.

From his time at Minnesota in college, Santoso has been seen to have a big leg. He was 76-77 in college on extra points and 29-39 on kicks. He also doubled as the team’s punter. Here’s some of his work from his college pro-day:

Ryan Santoso | Punter/Kicker | ProDay 2018 | Field GoalsRyan Santoso. University of Minnesota. Kicker/Punter. ProDay March 28, 2018. Field Goals.2018-04-15T18:34:26Z

With the Lions, Santoso was 2-3 on kicks and 6-8 on extra points. While not bad, it’s clearly far from good enough for the Detroit brass.

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