NEW ORLEANS - Garrett Hartley’s injured hip may force the New Orleans Saints to carry two kickers on their 53-man roster into the regular season.
Hartley is expected to miss between 8-10 weeks after suffering a right hip flexor while converting an extra point in the Saints’ 40-20 victory against the Oakland Raiders on Aug. 28 at O.co Coliseum, according to The (New Orleans) Times-Picayune.
Saints coach Sean Payton said the report is inaccurate.
Surgery is not required, the newspaper reported.
Saints officials gave an indication that Hartley’s injury might be serious earlier this week when they signed veteran kicker John Kasay to a one-year contract, though Payton has yet to disclose the nature or severity of the injury.
Kasay, 41, played in Thursday night’s 32-9 exhibition loss to the Tennessee Titans at the Superdome.
He missed wide left on a 39-yard field goal attempt on the final play of the first half and wide left again on an extra-point attempt in the fourth quarter.
The Saints open the season in a nationally televised game Sept. 8 against the defending Super Bowl champion Green Bay Packers at storied Lambeau Field.
The Saints offense led by third-string quarterback Sean Canfield deviated badly from Payton’s pre-game script. Consider: On their first five possessions, the Saints punted, gave up a safety when Canfield got tackled in the end zone, then gave up the ball on a fumble and back-to-back interceptions.
Saints officials placed veteran cornerback Fabian Washington on season-ending injured reserve. Washington has been sidelined with hamstring injuries throughout training camp and did not play in any exhibition games.
Did you notice?
Only one offensive starter opened the game for the Saints - left guard Carl Nicks, who played one possession. Seven starters opened the game on defense - ends Will Smith and Turk McBride, tackle Shaun Rogers, linebackers Will Herring (strongside) and Scott Shanle (weakside) and defensive backs Jabari Greer (cornerback) and Tracy Porter (strong safety). ? The Titans countered with 10 starters on offense (minus newly signed running back Chris Johnson) and five starters on defense.
Tight end Tory Humphrey did not distinguish himself on the Saints’ third offensive possession. He was called for a 10-yard holding penalty on one play, negating a 3-yard run by running back Joique Bell. Three plays later, Titans strong safety Jordan Babineaux stripped the ball from Humphrey’s grasp at the Saints 29 and cornerback Jason McCourty scooped up the loose ball and returned it 9 yards to the 20.
No harm, no foul
In one of the game’s few spirited plays, Titans’ center/guard Fernando Velasco was initially flagged for a penalty after driving Saints defensive tackle Swanson Miller hard to the turf early in the third quarter.
The players were quickly separated and officials picked up the flag.