Saints trying out kickers

by Walter Pierce

Incumbent Garrett Hartley has had a case of the wide-lefts this season, going 16-of-22 on field goals.

Saints kicker Garrett Hartley (5) celebrates with backup quarterback/place holder Luke McCown.

In the "what have you done for me lately" NFL, missing field goals is an invitation to unemployment, and Saints kicker Garrett Hartley is no exception. The kicker who booted the Saints into the Super Bowl in the 2009 season and set Super Bowl records for field goals over 40 yards in the biggest game in Saints history has been struggling this season. Hartley has missed six of his 22 attempts including four of 10 attempts from 40 to 49 yards.

NBC Sports is reporting that Saints coaches brought in a trio of kickers - Shayne Graham, Neil Rackers and Derek Dimke - on Tuesday, either as possible replacements for Hartley or at the very least to get his attention and put him on notice.

The Saints host the San Francisco 49ers Sunday in the Superdome, a team with a stout defense. Coupled with the Saints troubles in the red zone - the recent Cowboys blowout being an exception - scoring might be at a premium this week, and a successful field goal could be the difference between a W and an L.