Field Goal Competition
May 31 2002
By Bryan Hersh of 49ers Paradise
The 49ers are expected to cut one of their three place kickers before the beginning of training camp. The three candidates however are not making it an easy choice. In this passing camp, the kickers connected on 26 out of 27 total attempts. The loan miss came from last yearís kicker, Jose Cortez, a 53-yarder.
Itís expected that kicker Jeff Chandler, who was drafted this season, will be one of the three the team brings into camp. Teamís donít spend a fourth pick on a kicker, and then not bring him to training camp - its simply unheard of.
That leaves the team with Jose Cortez and Jamie Rheem. Rheem was winning the battle last off-season before an injury allowed Cortez to walk on to the roster. The 49ers may want to cut Rheem because he lacks experience. Alternatively, the team could keep Rheem and cut Cortez - knowing what Cortez has to offer. If they then lack confidence in their kicking situation closer to the season, they could hope that Cortez would be available as a free agent.
A good place kicker can win games for a team. The 49ers would rather not be in situations where games are decided by last second field goals, but ultimately, they along with every other NFL team will be in that situation. Thus itís awfully important that the team has a kicker who can win games for them, not to mention, not lose games for them.