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Zach Hocker and Dustin Hopkins: Saints' Kicking Battle Still Too Close To Call

Zach Hocker & Dustin Hopkins are both vying to the Saints' new (hopefully long-term) kicker, and both have performed well in the preseason. At this point, it seems to be a flip of the coin that will decide who will take the role for the Saints in 2015. Their preseason stats are the only indication of how they'll be outside of training camp, and how tight they are signifies a very difficult decision for the Saints' front office.

Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

Cuts are hard.  Plain and simple.  Cuts are harder when both players that are competing have performed at a high level.  So it goes for Saints' prospective kickers Zach Hocker and Dustin Hopkins.  The Saints, of course, only want to carry one kicker to replace Shayne Graham, but they have to choose between the two.  Their stats in the preseason are as follows:

Name KOs TBs FGA FGM XPA XPM 20-30 31-40 41-50 50+
Hocker 3 3 4 3 0 0 1-1 0-0 1-1 1-2
Hopkins 10 6 3 1 2 2 1-1 0-0 0-0 0-2

While Hopkins got significantly more reps, Hocker showed more range in his limited attempts.  Despite missing a 50 yarder, Hocker got no extra point attempts and far less kickoff attempts.  It's been said that Hopkins can hit 60+ yarders in practice, but that's irrelevant if he can't translate that into a game situation.  It appeared that Hopkins was the favorite coming into preseason, but Hocker made a strong case for himself in his limited time on the field.