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Conway to beat out Vanderjagt for job!?!


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Sorry if this is a repost...

Colts kickers still competing

Coaches want to evaluate Vanderjagt and Conway for 1 more game before they decide whom to keep on roster.

By Phillip B. Wilson


August 27, 2003

Fifteen football players had their lives irrevocably altered on Tuesday, but perhaps the most intriguing aspect of the Indianapolis Colts' roster cuts involved a kicker who wasn't on the list.

Brett Conway made the Colts' roster of 65. That means the preseason kicking competition between Conway and incumbent Mike Vanderjagt extends to a final exhibition against Cincinnati on Friday at the RCA Dome before the league-mandated cut to 53 on Sunday.

Neither kicker had a chance to attempt a field goal in Monday's 28-23 preseason victory at Denver. Seemingly irreplaceable as the most accurate kicker in league history at 85.1 percent, Vanderjagt is 0-for-3 on preseason field-goal attempts. Conway, a seven-year veteran, has made 1-of-2 field goals and sends the football deeper on kickoffs.

"Hopefully we'll get to see them a little bit more this week," Colts coach Tony Dungy said. "Brett is kicking well and Mike has kicked well in practice, too."

Players Dungy won't see when practice resumes today include Arena Football League quarterback Jim Kubiak, who lost the No. 3 job to undrafted rookie Jim MacPherson, and wide receiver Drew Haddad, who was on the active roster the past two seasons after joining the practice squad in 2000. Veteran running back Mike Green, signed Aug. 12, was also waived.

But the buzz was about the kickers.

Vanderjagt, the oldest Colt at 33 and entering his sixth year, is coming off his first season at less than 80 percent field-goal efficiency, 23-of-31 (74.2 percent). His off-season was worse. His criticism that quarterback Peyton Manning and Dungy lacked emotion gave sports talk shows fodder for weeks.

Conway, 28, has a career field-goal percentage of 76.4 (55-of-72), but he's injury prone. He made his only field goal for Washington last season before breaking his leg and being put on injured-reserve. His career started out on injured-reserve in Green Bay, when he missed the 1997 season with a leg injury.

Dungy has repeatedly said that he wants to keep only one kicker.

"I would like to," the coach said. "That is my hope, my goal and I think we will."

If that's the case, the final decision will be made by 3 p.m. Sunday.

Dungy said MacPherson got the nod over Kubiak because he has "a little bit of something that we like."

Kubiak, who played 16 games for the AFL's Dallas Desperados, had the better quarterback rating in preseason, 86.5 to 84.5. MacPherson, nine years younger at 22, had a higher completion percentage at 63.0 to 61.5, and had one touchdown and no interceptions. Kubiak had two touchdown passes but an interception returned for a score.

"We kind of like James' progress," Dungy said.

Haddad had one catch for 11 yards in his NFL regular-season career.

"It was really the emergence of other guys," Dungy said, "not necessarily that Drew wasn't doing a good job."

Dungy mentioned kickoff returner Brad Pyatt, punt returner and fourth receiver Troy Walters, newcomer Brandon Stokley and undrafted rookie Aaron Moorehead, the latter who leads the team with a pair of preseason scoring receptions.

Also waived were wide receiver Paul Arnold, tight end Chad Bartoszek, defensive tackle Dante Booker, defensive back Calvin Carlyle, linebacker Marq Cerqua, running back Steven Costa, linebacker J.R. Johnson, former Purdue running back Montrell Lowe, offensive guard Hans Olsen, wide receiver Robert Redd, offensive guard Rex Richards and linebacker Anthony Williams.

Dungy met with the players as part of the debriefing process. Players were advised to stay near a telephone for a certain time span.

"When the phone rings at 1 o'clock," Dungy said, "they know what it's about."

As bittersweet as Tuesday's cuts were for Dungy and his staff, the roster moves won't get any easier.

"Sunday is tougher because the decisions are tougher," he said.

"As you get down there, you want to make sure you're right and you're doing what's best for the team."

Call Star reporter Phillip B. Wilson at 1-317-444-6642.

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Vanderjagt really pissed Manning and the organization off with his comments.

It may not have been unfair what he said, but kickers aren't looked too favorably upon on football teams. Most see them as a necessary evil.

I gotta feel that it's a tad uncomfortable for him in the locker room and on the practice field.

That said, I'd be surprised if they actually whacked him. He's just been too good.

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Originally posted by airSkins96

vanderjack has been the best kicker in the history of the nfl rating wise for someone in there first 5 years.

this is because he ripped peyton "neck" manning, and tony "my teams choke in the playoffs" dungy

yeah but thats cutting off your nose to spite your face :shoothead

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Brett Conway is cut from the same cloth as Cory Raymer and Stephen Alexander, guys who flash talent and then go down to injuries season after season after season.............etc..........

and these teams never seem to learn from their histories here in washington! :laugh:

you would think the front office for the colts would see that Conway has failed to complete the 16 game season 3 or 4 times in his career when opening as the starter in the preseason.

you don't cut a money kicker even if he does have a big mouth.

my guess is Dungy is making Vanderjagt sweat a little bit before naming him the 2003 starter.

Vanderjagt won't last 5 minutes on the open market and may be able to latch on with a better team.

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