Detroit Lions News: Top 5 Players to Watch vs. Oakland Raiders

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Aug 9, 2014; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Lions kicker Nate Freese (3) watches from the bench during the first quarter against the Cleveland Browns at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

2. Nate Freese/ Giorgio Tavecchio, Kickers

First off, I know that Nate Freese and Giorgio Tavecchio are in fact two different players rather than one. They both are however involved in a highly competitive competition for the title of Detroit Lions kicker.

Tavecchio went undrafted coming out of the University of California two years ago. He made a strong bid for the Green Bay job in training camp a year ago and now he’s putting the pressure on Freese, a seventh-round draft pick by the Lions this year.

“So what we’re going to try to do is get the best player out there playing for us to give us the best chance to win. We don’t care where he came from, who he is. We’re just looking for results.”- Coach Caldwell

Both have bounced back from rough starts during camp and did their job effectively in the opening preseason game.

The Lions’ two field goals were kicked by Freese, who connected from 37 and 32 yards on his only opportunities.

Going back to college, Freese has now made 28 straight field-goal attempts in games — his last six as a junior at Boston College, all 20 last year as a senior and now two as a pro in the preseason.

Meanwhile, Tavecchio hit a 33-yard extra point — the longer distance is part of a NFL experiment in the preseason — for the winning point with 1:05 remaining in a 13-12 victory over Cleveland.

"“There’s two kickers, there’s one spot,” Freese said. “I’m pushing Georgio, Georgio’s pushing me. I’m glad there’s a competition going on. I think it makes everyone better.”"

Freese appears to have the edge at this point. He was the first one called upon in the first game. It also doesn’t hurt his chances that the team used a draft pick on him.