Sean Payton Stands by New Orleans Saints Kicker Garrett Hartley

Josh McCainSenior Writer ISeptember 10, 2010

MIAMI GARDENS, FL - FEBRUARY 07: Garrett Hartley #5 of the New Orleans Saints kicks a field goal as Mark Brunell #11 holds against the Indianapolis Colts during Super Bowl XLIV on February 7, 2010 at Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

In last night's 14-9 barnburner, New Orleans Saints kicker Garrett Hartley shanked two very make-able field goals of 46 and 32 yards.

Even with a win, one would think that head coach Sean Payton would be rightfully upset with his kicker.

Payton had this to say today: "He kicked well in the postseason...he's our kicker."

Nice to see the coach not throwing the kid under the bus, but with kickers, two bad misses like that can really get into their heads.

It's not like a quarterback, running back, or wide receiver, who get many chances in a game to make up for a mistake.

A receiver drops the ball, goes back to the huddle, says, "My bad," and goes out and catches the next pass, and all is forgotten.

A kicker doesn't have that luxury if he misses. He might not get another chance in that game, and if he does and misses again, it can stick with him.

Just ask Nate Kaeding. The guy had some crucial misses for San Diego last year and has been seeing a counselor.

How many misses is Hartley away from that?

Kickers have fragile psyches, and these two misses might balloon very quickly.  

If I'm Sean Payton, I'd publicly support Hartley, but I'd have a short list of available kickers in my back pocket.

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