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QBREES9 09-27-2010 10:03 AM

Saints still have confidence in Hartley
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NEW ORLEANS ― One thing about Garrett Hartley – he never shies away from questions.

So Sunday afternoon, less than an hour after the Saints’ placekicker pushed a game-winning kick left, he stood at his locker and answered away.

And that’s one of the reasons his teammates have confidence in him despite the fact that his missed kick helped the Saints lose 27-24 in overtime to Atlanta in front of a packed Superdome.

“The game came down to a 29-year field goal and I yanked it left,” Hartley said. “No ifs or buts about it. It was clearly my mistake.”

It’s also the second time in two home games that Hartley has been forced to answer queries about his shanking right foot.

He missed two field goals against Minnesota in the season opener, though those pushes didn’t cost the Saints (2-1) a win.

Heading into the season, Hartley had missed only two field goals, going 22-for-24 in a season and a half with New Orleans.

He hit three field goals of more than 40 yards in the Super Bowl, a championship game record. And his 40-yard field – towards the same goal post, nonetheless – against the Vikings in the NFC championship game put the Saints in the Super Bowl.

Against the Falcons, overtime wouldn’t have even been a part of the game if not for Hartley, who drilled a 32-yarder as time expired in regulation to tie the game.

That’s why his teammates have confidence in him.

“I do,” quarterback Drew Brees said. “He has made a lot of big field goals. Unfortunately he misses the one today that he would make 99 out of 100 times. This was just that 1 out of 100. I have a lot of confidence in him.”

“We’ve seen this guy make big kicks,” linebacker Scott Shanle said. “The thing I like about Garrett is he’s a confident player. He’s not one of those kickers that once he misses, you’ve got to worry about him going in the tank.”

Two weeks ago, when asked the same question after Hartley missed two kicks, Head Coach Payton didn’t hesitate in backing the youngster. After the game Sunday, Payton was asked about whether he’d entertain thoughts of replacing Hartley.

His answer wasn’t nearly as firm this time, though he did take some of the blame for himself.

“We’re not going to talk about personnel right now,” Payton said. “I think it’s a fair question. Last week he played well. He pulled his kick. Certainly he has got to play better than that. There’s a lot of us that have to do a better job, myself included.”

foreverfan 09-27-2010 10:10 AM

All kickers have slumps. They are bringing Carney back to help Hartley. It worked last year.

darstep 09-27-2010 10:35 AM

I still have confidence in Hartley also. He's a kicker. You make some and you miss some. He's already proved that he CAN make kicks. Could he have made it? YES! Should he have made it? YES! that's why they pay him. Saints should have played well enough where you don't put him in that position. Put teams away, and its a non issue.

Choupique 09-27-2010 02:47 PM

Brees and Lance Moore both stood up for Hartley in the face of reporters.

Good for them. Loyalty is a rarity these days, it seems.

No kicker has made all of their kicks. None. Zero. Nada.

Choupique 09-27-2010 02:51 PM

you couldn't kick a three yarder, so what makes you an expert?

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