ALLEN PARK, Mich. (AP) The Detroit Lions are looking for kicking help once again.
The Lions released kicker Alex Henery on Monday, a day after Henery missed three field-goal attempts during Detroit’s 17-14 home loss to the Buffalo Bills.
One of the misses was a 50-yard try in the final minute that would have given the Lions the lead.
Henery also missed from 44 and 47 yards and went 1 for 5 during his two-week stint.
”That’s this business,” wide receiver Golden Tate said. ”Either you handle your business or they’ll find someone who will. It’s tough we’ve had to experience that the last few weeks and it’s tough that that’s held us back a little bit, but at the end of the day I don’t think you can ever blame the game on any one (person).”
Detroit (3-2) also released rookie kicker Nate Freese after Week 3. Freese made just 3 of 7 attempts and was 0 of 4 from 40 yards or longer.
The Lions will reportedly hold tryouts Tuesday as they look for yet another kicker to fill the void entering Sunday’s game at Minnesota (2-3).
”We’ve got to find a performer,” coach Jim Caldwell said. ”We’ve got to get a guy who’s consistent under pressure and able to put points on the board.
”In this league there are going to be close games. Guys in that position are going to decide a number of games and we’ve got to make certain we get the right guy for us.”
Kicking has been a concern for the Lions since Jason Hanson retired following the 2012 season, ending a 21-year career in Detroit. Veteran David Akers made 19 of 24 attempts in 2013 and was released at the end of the season.
Asked why the team has struggled to find a successful kicker, Caldwell said it’s hard to determine how kickers will perform based on a tryout.
”You can’t put them in a game situation and find out everything you need to know about them,” Caldwell said. ”You have to certainly make your best guess and go with it and if it’s not, you get it corrected, and don’t be ashamed to get it corrected.”
Kicking woes aside, the Lions offense has been underwhelming in recent weeks. Detroit scored one offensive touchdown against the Bills and converted just 1 of 9 third down attempts.
”I think it’s a matter of getting into a rhythm,” running back Reggie Bush said. ”We’ve got to do a better job of getting everyone on the same page and making sure we’re doing the fundamental things right, because we have great players in this offense.”
Injuries have also piled up on offense – star wide receiver Calvin Johnson suffered a right ankle injury against Buffalo, and his status for the Minnesota game is uncertain.
Bush suffered an ankle injury in the second half against Buffalo. While the Lions were also without running back Joique Bell, who missed the game after suffering a concussion during a Week 4 win at the New York Jets. Both running backs were optimistic about their status against the Vikings.
”I feel good,” Bush said Monday. ”I’m gonna prepare like I can play Sunday. It’s day to day and I’m gonna do everything I can to be out there on the field.”
Bell said the side effects from his concussion weren’t severe and he’s ready to get back on the field.
Tate has emerged as a go-to option in Johnson’s absence, getting seven catches for a career-high 134 yards against Buffalo. He’s hoping to stay consistent as Detroit travels to Minnesota in a first-place tie with Green Bay (3-2) in the NFC North.
”I think it’s gonna be a big week for this receiver group,” Tate said. ”We don’t know what’s gonna happen with (Johnson). Hopefully he’s out there, but we don’t know what’s gonna happen. We’ve gotta show up big this week again.”
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