Well we have finally made it, after this we will have broken down every position on the Rams roster to help prepare you for training camp. As much as some may not like to admit it, punters and kickers are people too and we do have to break them down, we dont want anybody to feel left out. With that said here is the breakdown of the Rams special teams.
GZ, Legatron, or whatever you may call him, Greg Zuerlein caught some eyes last season. He may have had some rookie bumps, but he also put his name in the record books kicking the longest Field Goal by a rookie not only in Rams, but history and NFL kicking a 60 yard field goal, most 50 Yard Field Goals Attempted, Season with 13, he was the first player in NFL History to make a 60-yarder and a 50-plus yarder in one game, and the first player in NFL History to make two field goals of 58+ yards in one game. Zuerlein went 23-31 last season, but six of those misses came from outside 50 yards. Zuerlein’s best moment probably came against the 49ers when he kicked the game tying and game winning field goals. The biggest problem for Zuerlein would have to be consistency. Zuerlein went 8-14 in outdoor stadiums, three of those misses came in week six against the Dolphins a game in which the Rams lost 17-14. Zuerlein shows a lot of promise and by the end of his career he could hold the longest field goal record. As for now though, the Rams will be playing a lot of tight games this season and Zuerlein will need to be ready to deliver when his number is called.
Hekker also surprised some and showed promise as the future punter of the franchise. You never want your offense to have to punt the ball away, but when they do, it’s nice to have a guy who can give your defense good field position. Hekker had the 11th most punting yards as a rookie with 3,756 and ranked 16th in net yards. Hekker did have attempt the 8th most punts which means the offense is not doing their job, however Hekker ranked 6th in punts returned and had the 9th most return yards which means Hekker needs to work on his hangtime which would give his teammates time to get down the field to prevent a return. Hekker is a young player with big upside, but he has to get better in terms of placement and control, especially when looking to pin offenses back deep.
It is assumed that Austin will be the new return man for the Rams. Austin is an explosive player who can score at any moment if he has the ball in his hands and has some space. Austin had 15 punt returns last season at WVU averaging more than 10 yards per return with 165 yards and one touchdown. Austin also made an impact on kickoff returns having 33 returns that went for 833 yards and one touchdown. The game has three phases to it, and sometimes a game can be one or lost because of a special teams play. The Rams hope Austin can help make that kind of impact of special teams and help give the offense a shorter field.
The Rams look to have three good main guys on special teams. The Rams have the kicker who can make a field goal from a mile away, a punter who has the potential to be one of the best, and an explosive returner who can make a difference. Well that’ll do it for our position breakdowns, overall the Rams are in good shape to make a possible run this season. This is the most talented roster they have had for quite a while with plenty of competitions this offseason. Get your popcorn ready Rams Fans because you wont want to miss a second of it.