The Saints were busy yesterday, waiving wide receiver Joe Morgan and demoting safety Kenny Vaccaro. Their efforts to turn around the season continued today, as the team worked out a trio of kickers: Garrett Hartley (via Adam Schefter), Zach Hocker (via Ramon Antonio Vargas) and Derek Dimke (via Mike Triplett). The team ultimately decided to stick with incumbent Shayne Graham, but Triplett notes that the situation could easily change.
Graham has been solid for the Saints this season, successfully converting 18 of his 20 field goal attempts and 37 of his 38 extra point opportunities. However, the 12-year veteran is not rated favorably by Pro Football Focus’ advanced statistics (subscription required), as he ranks 42nd among 52 candidates. The 37-year-old was a model of consistency during his tenure with the Bengals, but he’s on pace to make 16 appearances for only the second time since 2009.
Hartley, who played for the Saints from 2008-2013, was replaced by Graham late last season. The 28-year-old, who won a Super Bowl as New Orleans’ kicker, converted 22 of his 30 field goal attempts in 2013. Hocker, a seventh-round pick in this past year’s draft, was cut by Washington during the team’s final roster cuts. Dimke, an undrafted free agent in 2012, spent time with the Saints during the preseason.
While Graham has been consistent kicking field goals of less than 50 yards (he’s connected on 64 of 69 chances since 2010), his longer attempts have been more erratic (five of 10 over that same span). Meanwhile, the three other kickers have converted 13 of their 17 attempts since 2010 (including college), perhaps indicating that the organization is seeking someone they could rely on from further out.