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December 12, 2011

Rivera opens door on Mare future

Panthers coach Ron Rivera plans to meet with general manager Marty Hurney today to discuss the future of kicker Olindo Mare, who missed another short field goal with the game on the line in Sunday's 31-23 loss to Atlanta.

Rivera left open the possibility that the Panthers could bring in kickers to try out Tuesday.

“We'll evaluate that and we go through this. This is a very veteran kicker, a very experienced guy that's had a couple of misses. Very unfortunate,” Rivera said. “The timing of the misses are about as bad as they get, obviously. We've got to think this through and go through the process, and make sure we make good decisions.”

With the Panthers trailing 24-23 with 5:16 left, Mare pulled a 36-yard field goal wide left against the Falcons. It was similar to Mare's miss against Minnesota in Week 8, when he pulled a 31-yard attempt left as time expired in the 24-21 loss.

The Panthers signed Mare to a four-year, $12 million contract in July after cutting veteran John Kasay, the last original Panther. Mare received $4 million in guaranteed money, including $2 million in deferred money.

Their rationale was that Mare could also kickoff, saving a roster spot. Kasay has not kicked off in several years.

And while Mare's 44 touchbacks are second in the league, he ranks near the bottom in the league with his 76 field goal percentage.

Rivera said he had no regrets about cutting Kasay, who has made 84 percent of his field goals with New Orleans.

“The reason we did it is we were looking for a two-for-one. We wanted to have one guy that was going to help us the kick ball off and kick field goals, and gain that spot back on the roster,” Rivera said. “We also wondered how long (Kasay) would have have played, how much further down the road would he have gone.”

Rivera said the Panthers considered signing a kicker younger than the 38-year-old Mare, but they did not believe there were any good, young kickers available.

“At some point, you'd like to believe it's going to get worked out and he's going to kick them and make them,” Rivera said. “That's what he was brought here to do. So hopefully we'll get that done.”

--Joseph Person

Posted by Observer Sports on December 12, 2011 at 12:51 PM | Permalink


Shouldn't even have come down to that FG!

Posted by: Mike P | Dec 12, 2011 1:12:31 PM

Hurney you are such an idiot....all you do is spend your time justifying all of your bonehead decisions...please do this organization a favor & gracefully walk away as JR doesn't seem to have the brains to fire you

Posted by: bull123 | Dec 12, 2011 1:14:54 PM

I don't know, I'm starting to think that Rivera just might be a little dopey. Even after his kicker blows a couple easy FG attempts he still doesn't think it was mistake to cut Kasay. Bottom line, after all the years of service while a Panther, Kasay deserved better treatment than what he received from Marty and JARRRYY.

Posted by: Out of town Panther fan | Dec 12, 2011 1:19:24 PM

He said he didn't regret it because they were looking to reclaim the extra roster spot, and Rivera thinks that was still worthwhile. Agree or not, but that makes total sense, and given how much action we've had at the bottom of our roster looking for replacements to injured players and whatnot, I'd say that spot's been a useful thing to the club. Think of it as if we traded Kasay for Mare and Applewhite. Now how dopey does he seem? Love Kasay, and Mare doesn't appear to be the guy for the long haul, but the thinking is and continues to be sound. And Hurney defends himself in articles where reporters ask him to defend himself. I'd hardly say that's all he does, it's just all you see in the paper. Man, people just don't THINK before they type...

Posted by: Jones | Dec 12, 2011 1:29:46 PM

I recall a couple of friends who are Dolphins fans cussing Mare years ago for always missing the big kicks...now he's here and so are the same issues. It's not a surprise that we're sitting here having this discussion at all. Disappointing yes, surprising no.

Posted by: Skinney | Dec 12, 2011 1:46:43 PM

We have Hurney as GM, need I say more about the overall poor record of the last two years, and below .500 record since he as been here. Why was he not shown the door with Fox?

Posted by: Steven | Dec 12, 2011 2:06:51 PM

That spot he gained by having a 2 for 1 kicker is being wasted on Armanti Edwards. Think about that!

Posted by: Michael | Dec 12, 2011 2:06:51 PM

So the Panthers booted Kasay because they say he couldn't handle kickoffs and they wanted someone who could handle both. First, the rules changed this year to give kickers an extra 5 yards on each kickoff. IMO, the additional 5 yards should have for the most part negated that concern. Second, the roster spot argument would make sense if every person on the roster was being utilized and the spot was needed, but that's not the case either. Just be honest. This was just a poor decision that has come back to bite the Panthers. But the Saints sure are happy.

Posted by: Disappointed | Dec 12, 2011 2:10:05 PM

That's what the kicker is supposed to do- make the big kicks. That's what field goals are for- to win the close games. Kasay, in his prime, was clutch as a field goal kicker, which is why we were called the Cardiac Cats the year we went to the Superbowl. Without his kick making ability, we might not have even made the playoffs that year. Should it have come down to a field goal kick to retake the lead? No, but that's football; someone eventually has to step up with the big play, and if it's not our special teams, defense or offense, who's it going be?

Posted by: Keith | Dec 12, 2011 2:13:32 PM

There's a good reason why Mare has been around the league and people like Kasay stayed put.

Posted by: Tvan | Dec 12, 2011 2:15:45 PM

I was about to jump on the "how dare we cut Kasey" bandwagon until I read that...

84% accuracy with New Orleans.

Ouch. That's 17th in the league. Mare may be 28th in the league, so Kasey would have been the better choice, but still...17th best. Ouch.

Posted by: Brandon | Dec 12, 2011 2:21:28 PM

I don't understand why Hurney signed this guy to a long term deal without seeing the production first. Do GM's in this league always do business this way?

Posted by: DieHardCat | Dec 12, 2011 2:45:35 PM

Mare couldn't kick the broad side of a barn. That was apparent in the Minnesota game. Both games were at home with crowd support. Imagine being on the road and needing a field goal to either tie or win the game. Look at Pratter for Denver who made two 59 yard field goals in one game, one to tie it for overtime and another to win the game. Mare could've very well sealed both games for us, but not! Cut him, let Clausen kick field goals, he ain't doing anything else!

Posted by: BlackKat | Dec 12, 2011 2:51:32 PM

They need to sign Shayne Graham...he had been filling in on the Miami Dolphins while their main Kicker was hurt..but he got released last Wednesday.

Posted by: David T. | Dec 12, 2011 2:52:50 PM

Put it this way...if he were Bill Parcels' kicker?? He wouldnt have made it past the Monday after he blew the kick against Minn..thats potentially two more wins

Im from Buffalo, you should see what happened to Scott Norwood...im just sayin

Posted by: Bobcat Terry | Dec 12, 2011 2:56:19 PM

It all starts with Hurney. He needs to go.

Posted by: Mark | Dec 12, 2011 2:57:32 PM

We should all be thankful that Ron Rivera is coaching the panthers and not John Fox.If John Fox was still coaching the Panthers and Mare was the kicker .Fox would have made excuse left and right how good of a season that Mare is having.It great that Rivera is telling it the way it is

Posted by: john | Dec 12, 2011 2:59:07 PM

some idiot lady got mad at me for booing after the mare kick. Lets just say she was shocked after I told her how I really felt about that mare

Posted by: zach | Dec 12, 2011 3:00:56 PM

When they discuss Mare's future, they should discuss Hurney's future too! Send them both packing...

Posted by: PantherCane | Dec 12, 2011 3:11:46 PM

Mare's agent, Drew Rosenhaus, Tweeted this on June 28:

"Olindo Mare will be the top free agent kicker. In the past 3 seasons he's had 64 touchbacks & 88% field goals. Seattle will have competition"

We sure signed a lot of Rosenhaus' players this summer. Hmmmmm.

Posted by: Dan | Dec 12, 2011 3:11:50 PM

Remember when Mare played for the Saints in 2007 and shanked the gamewinner against Carolina? We ended up winning 16-13.

Posted by: Greg | Dec 12, 2011 3:12:16 PM

It baffles me every time the kicking situation comes up that they let Kasay go! Was that one extra spot on the roster that important to you that you would let go one of the best field goal kickers??

Posted by: Michael | Dec 12, 2011 3:20:03 PM

They keep saying that they saved a roster spot by cutting kasay.....but last time I looked punters are allowed to kick off too....they should have cut baker who has never been very good and signed a punter that can kick off like new orleans

Posted by: Mike | Dec 12, 2011 3:23:54 PM

Just hang in there with Mare. Wait until the season ends before deciding. You already paid him a lot of money, the last few games have no importance, and then you can evaluate if you made a mistake. And how many TDs has he saved by kicking it in the end zone every time? The Panthers have a ton of other problems that need more work that this one...at least for now.

Posted by: Peter | Dec 12, 2011 3:31:15 PM

I'm not a fan of Mare's FG ability, but you do have to wonder how many times he has saved our awful coverage unit with touchbacks (2nd in the NFL). Kasay might not have had clutch field goal opportunities if all of our kickoffs were susceptible to returns. It's a trade off that seems bad right now.

Posted by: SM | Dec 12, 2011 3:47:05 PM

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