Detroit Lions: Matt Prater remains the only viable kicking option

Billy Hardiman-USA TODAY Sports
Billy Hardiman-USA TODAY Sports /

The Detroit Lions are forced to let kicker Matt Prater work through his struggles; let’s hope he can right the ship.

If not Matt Prater, then who?  The Detroit Lions are in a bit of a predicament when replacing Prater if his struggles were to continue.  Recently head coach Matt Patricia tried to provide the veteran kicker with a vote of confidence, stating that the Lions are behind their current kicker and are not seeking an alternative option.

Part of that confidence comes because if I can be frank, who will the Lions bring in that would serve as an upgrade? You know what general manager Bob Quinn would prefer to do, right?  Couldn’t you see Quinn signing 47-year old Adam Vinatieri? That would be the most Lion-Esque thing possible.

I’d rather see if Prater can work through his issues because we know he still possesses the leg to convert from 50-plus yards; he’s just struggled with accuracy this season.  Vinatieri, in particular, doesn’t have the leg even to attempt a field goal past 45 yards anymore.

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Heading into Sunday’s matchup with the Washington Football Team, Prater had converted on just 14 of his 20 field goal attempts in 2020.  That’s just a 70% conversion rate, by far the worst of his career.  Prater is known for his ‘big-leg’ and drilling kicks north of 50-yards.  Last season Prater hit a whopping seven of his eight field-goal attempts that were plus 50-yards.  In 2020, he’s hit just two of five attempts from that range.

One good thing, Prater, remains automatic when kicking the extra point; in 2019, he missed just one, and he’s been perfect in PAT attempts this season.

Aside from Vinatieri, other notable free agent kickers available are Matt Gay, Aldrick Rosas, Brett Maher, and Chandler Catanzaro.

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The Detroit Lions are better off just limping through the rest of the season with Prater and reevaluating the teams’ kicking options in the offseason.  Prater is set to become a free agent at seasons’ end, along with an abundance of reliable NFL kickers.