Is Sam Martin to blame for Detroit Lions kicking woes?


The Detroit Lions are about to embark on their third kicker of the regular season after only five weeks of action. Even before Alex Henery‘s 0-3 performance in Sundays 17-14 loss to the Buffalo Bills, I had begun to see a question arise amongst Detroit Lions fans — Is punter/holder Sam Martin actually to blame for the teams kicking woes this season?

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It started with rookie Nate Freese out of Boston College. The seventh-round draft pick, made only three of his seven field-goal attempts in he NFL after going a perfect 30-30 in his senior season at BC. He was cut after the Lions week three win over the Green Bay Packers.

Then came the two-week term of former Philadelphia Eagle, Alex Henery. Prior to his time in Detroit, Henery was 74-86 in his career including going 23-28 in his final full season of action in the city of brotherly love. While with the Detroit Lions however, Henery would go 1-5 including Sunday’s three misses that ultimately cost the Lions the victory.

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Some even go back to last season and David Akers struggles during the 2013 season.

Both Henery and Freese made comments publicly that there was some sort of issue with the hold, operation, and or timing between Lions Punter/holder Sam Martin and long snapper, Don Muhlbach.

So again, we ask:

Is Sam Martin to blame for the Detroit Lions kicking woes?

Martin doesn’t think so.

The second-year Detroit Lions punter had this to say, via ESPN Detroit Lions beat writer, Michael Rothstein:

"“Up to this point, no misses have been because of holds and snaps,” Martin said. “I think our operation has been pretty sound, actually. But with that being said, I don’t think I’m a perfect holder or perfect kickoff guy or perfect punter.“So I’m always trying to improve. If the hold’s not perfect and I notice that, I’m going to fix it along with bad punts and bad kickoffs. I don’t think I’m perfect at any area.”"

Detroit Lions coach Jim Caldwell said there have not been many issues with Martin’s holding and that he hasn’t considered a change there – but really, there hasn’t needed to be.

"“Sam works at it. Sam’s got good hands and that’s something that every single week is evaluated,” Lions coach Jim Caldwell said. “It’s looked at closely in terms of the battery between the snapper, the holder and the kicker, so all of that is looked at closely.“We try to evaluate it, we don’t pull any punches if we see an issue that may be a problem. We certainly identify it and address it. I think he does a good job.”"

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Martin stated that he has not been ask to kick in a game so far this season, however if he were — backup quarterback Dan Orlovsky would be the holder. He also said that Matthew Stafford sometimes practices holding for emergency situations.

One thing is for sure — whoever the Detroit Lions bring in as the teams third kicker at some point this week, it will likely be an established veteran. If that person also struggles, the finger may be pointed directly to Martin this time.

Do you think Sam Martin is to blame for the Detroit Lions kicking struggles in 2014?