James Tuthill took the early lead on the placekicking scoreboard, with a three-for-three performance this morning in the second full-scale field goal competition of the spring.
"It's still a work in progress. James is very powerful. He's got a good kicking leg and he's getting his field goal stuff together, too. It's a battle," Jaguars special teams coach Bill Bates said of the three-way placekicking competition between Tuthill, holdover Danny Boyd and rookie Seth Marler.
Tuthill was three-for-three this morning. Boyd converted two of his three boots and Marler was one-for-three. That leaves Tuthill at eight-for-nine, Boyd at seven-for-nine and Marler at five-for-nine to date in spring mini-camps.
"James has come on," Bates said. "The kickoff thing is important. That's a possibility," he added of the Jaguars keeping a kickoff specialist.
Leg strength is what earned Tuthill a try in the league. His reputation is for knocking the ball long and straight on kickoffs, but also for being erratic on kicks from placement. The Jaguars hope that in Tuthill's sixth year of trying to stick with an NFL team, his talents are beginning to show refinement.
"I've been everywhere. I took the long road," Tuthill said of his pro career, which began in 1998 when the Cal Poly product traveled from tryout camp to tryout camp.
In 1999, Tuthill spent time with San Jose of the Arena Football League, which earned him a try in the NFL 49ers' training camp in 2000. He was cut, then re-signed by the 49ers early in 2001, then allocated to NFL Europe.
Tuthill then spent a game on Green Bay's roster as a kickoff specialist in the '01 season, and was in Houston's training camp last summer.
He made his way to Washington for the first 13 games of last season, and appeared to be establishing himself until a disastrous performance on Thanksgiving day in Dallas. Tuthill, who was 10 of 16 overall with the Redskins, including two kicks that were blocked and three that hit the upright, suffered one of those blocks in that game against the Cowboys. And forced into the punter's role due to an injury to Bryan Barker, Tuthill shanked his last of four punts.
That earned Tuthill a ticket out of D.C. San Diego claimed him, then cut him, and that brings us to Jacksonville, where the opportunity appears to be for real.
"I think they're giving me an opportunity and their decision will be based on ability," Tuthill said of the Jaguars.
In today's "passing camp" practice, Tuthill made all three of his field-goal attempts, from 36, 42 and 46 yards. Boyd was good from 36, wide right from 42 and good from 46. Marler was wide right from 36, short from 42 and good from 46.