Havard 'Kickalicious' Rugland could earn Lions kicking job

By John Breech | CBSSports.com

Havard 'Kickalicious' Rugland (left) is competing with David Akers (right) for the Lions kicking job. (USATSI)
Havard 'Kickalicious' Rugland (left) is competing with David Akers (right) for the Lions kicking job. (USATSI)

You might not have to watch YouTube the next time you want to see Havard 'Kickalicious' Rugland in action. You might just have to show up at a Lions game.

Rugland, who shot to YouTube fame by making a kicking trick-shot video, has slowly been making an impression on the Lions coaching staff.

During the Lions minicamp this week, coach Jim Schwartz said the Norwegian kicking sensation is about more than trick shots. "He's obviously got a strong leg," Schwartz said, via the Lions' official website. "He's done a nice job working through all the different things that are new to him."

Those new things include putting on a football helmet, something Rugland did for the first time in his life during Detroit's rookie minicamp in May.

Schwartz seems to like what he sees out of Rugland, but he admits there are some things he hasn't seen yet, like Rugland's ability to kick in front of a live rush.

"Every step you try to temper, 'Well, let's see what happens when there's a snapper or holder out there, let's see what happens when he's got a defense that's rushing at him.' I don't know how much we can rush right now, it's hard to say," Schwartz said. "So, the next thing is, when the game's live and guys are really bearing down on him and there's pressure involved in the kick. But that's something that won't come for awhile now."

If Rugland's going to win the Lions kicking job, he's not going to win it with experience. Rugland's competition for the job -- former 49ers kicker David Akers -- has 15 years of NFL experience to Rugland's zero.

However, one thing Rugland might have on Akers is leg strength. The 38-year-old Akers connected on only 9 of 19 field goals from over 40 yards last season for the 49ers.

"You get those 55-yarders and those longer kicks, he's got plenty of leg strength," Schwartz said. "You've got to have enough strength to be able to do that and he does."

Rugland won't be able to show off his leg strength again until July. Thursday marked the final day of Detroit's minicamp, and the team won't practice again until training camp starts in late July.

Oh, and if you missed Rugland's trick-shot video, you can see it below.

(Video courtesy of YouTube)

 
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