It seems like yesterday that John Kasay missed the potential Super Bowl winning field goal.
But here we are, 9 years later, and we are still relying on John Kasay’s leg. Now, I am one to support Kasay until the day he decides to leave. Kasay is the epitome of a Panther, and will be on the team until he decides it is time to hang up the cleats. There is only one problem: He’s not the same John Kasay.
Kasay is to the Carolina Panthers what bread is to a PB&J. Kasay has been with the Panthers since their first game, and rarely misses a game, barring a major injury. He has been a fan favorite since day one, but his time may be nearing its end. He is no longer the kickoff specialist for the Panthers, and his long distance kicks are becoming shorter. His saving grace? His accuracy is one of the best!
Rhys Lloyd is currently handling kick-offs for the team, because it seems Kasay’s leg cannot handle that pressure anymore. Lloyd has been a journeyman of sorts, but I think the Panthers found a perfect replacement for Kasay. Lloyd has the leg strength, as he has led the league in touchbacks before. He’s averaging about 66 yards a kick. Ron Rivera should begin thinking into the future, and groom Lloyd to replace Kasay. Rhys Lloyd has the talent to be a premier kicker in the NFL, but he needs training. He was the leading kicker for the Frankfurt Galaxy when they were still around, but other than that he only has a few preseason kicks under his belt. The kid is young and with time will develop.
Now, as I said before, don’t think the Panthers are going to ever let go of Kasay. Kasay will retire when he wants, and the Panthers are aware of this, and fully agree with it. But, the Panthers need to think ahead. I know people will berate me because Kasay’s long last year was 55 yards, but he kicked off 4 times averaging 57 yards. Kasay has a few more years under his belt, even though he’s the oldest player in the NFL. Heck, he was older than Favre last year.
I love Kasay as much as every other Panther fan, but when the time comes, I’ll be ready for the next era in Carolina kicking. We have only known one kicker in the existence of our favorite team, and accepting a new kicker will be tough. I just hope we welcome him with open arms into what has been some of the best kicking in recent football history.