OXNARD, Calif. — The eagerness awaits the kicker competition between Tristan Vizcaino and Brandon Aubrey, as each enter training camp with the opportunity to win the starting job.
Through two practices and Friday's walk-through, special teams coordinator John Fassel has taken a slow approach to thrusting either guy into a competition. As a result, Monday will be the official beginning of the face-off.
"I didn't want them to have to kick in front of the team and be evaluated until they got a couple of kicking opportunities just working out the operations," Fassel said. "On Monday, when we get the pads on it'll be the first day kicking in front of the team where every kick is charted and timed, make or miss. Monday, you'll see the actual competition begin."
Vizcaino, who was signed in February, has the benefit of being in the building longer while Aubrey, who was signed in June, comes in fresh off a strong USFL campaign with the Birmingham Stallions.
Both bring intriguing traits to the competition, but neither have extensive NFL experience. For Fassel, it's an opportunity to construct a unique battle in Oxnard.
"Two unproven, but strong, athletic, talented kickers," he said. "It'll be a great competition to see who is worthy of being our kicker."
The 2023 training camp almost directly reflects the same competition from a year ago, but with a key difference in Tassel's mind as he sees an extra layer of intensity early on.
"I think they're gonna make each other better," he said. "Last year we had a competition, and I don't think one guy pushed the other which maybe led to a deflated competition, but I think you'll see something a little different this year."
Monday will be the team's first practice with the pads on after a week of getting settled in Oxnard with just a jersey and shorts.