Jason Hanson might be the Lions' swamp diamond. If nothing else, you can expect three points out of a drive that makes it to the opponents' 30-yard line. Unfortunately, the kickin' savior is recovering from surgery and may not even play in the season opener. The other guy, Swayze Waters (the bandleader from Dirty Dancing?) ain't doin' so well these days either. So, surprise! A wide receiver is their preseason kicker.
Longtime Rams wideout Dane Looker was 4-for-4 on field goal attempts in practice, the best of which was easily made from 43 yards away. They're saying he could be the first-string kicker for their preseason game this weekend against Indianapolis. This news comes a week after Chad Ochocinco drilled a PAT in an exhibition game, just because he could.
I think I know what's going on here. Just like last year, when the WILDCAT!™ formation swept the nation, field goal-attempting wideouts, or "kickceivers," will be the new flavor of the month this time around. It's going to threaten the entire specialization of placekicking, so that the 53rd roster spot can be reserved for another strong tackling body. In response, the diminutive kickers will be seen taking extra reps after practice and hitting the tackling dummies in a hope that they can keep their job.
It's such a natural fit, too. Wide receivers love the spotlight. How much more attention can you get before a play than on a field goal attempt? All eyes are looking at the kicker from the set to the moment the ball is airborne. In regular offensive plays, the wide receiver only is seen on camera when the ball is thrown in his general direction. Otherwise he has to legally change his name, plant a cell phone in the goalpost, sign a football after a touchdown, or — in Marvin Harrison's case — be completely invisible.
Of course, much like the subsided panic over WILDCAT!™ fever (not nearly as contagious as Panda AIDS), eventually "kickceivers" will no longer be profitable, since a bunch of them will miss crucial field goals. And in the past, it was just so easy to put all the blame on the kicker by releasing him. Once teams realize they can't do that anymore, they'll reinstate the 53rd roster spot to kick around guys like Richard Nixon and Shaun Suisham.