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Saints consider benching Garrett Hartley

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New Orleans might pull the plug on a man who once kicked it into a Super Bowl.

Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sport

The New Orleans Saints are approaching their most important game of the season and are thinking about benching kicker Garrett Hartley, according to ESPN.com.

With a game against the Carolina Panthers in the wings, coach Sean Payton is not too confident in the kicking game. When talking about Garrett Hartley's performance last week - in which he missed two field goals including having one blocked from short range - Payton was blunt. Per the piece:

"The kicking game, we can't kick a field goal. You know, we have one blocked, which was a low trajectory kick. The other one we just shanked to the left."

The former Super Bowl champion has struggled all season despite kicking inside the dome, missing eight of his 30 attempts. Earlier in the year the Saints brought in five different kickers to take a look at, including Shayne Graham and Neil Rackers. Ultimately none were signed, but still remain available in case New Orleans wants to revisit the situation.

Should the Saints beat the Panthers, they would lock up the No. 2 seed in the NFC playoffs. If they lose, they would need to win in Week 17 and hope for a Carolina loss.

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