Will the LA Rams go with the Big Mac Attack to face the Patriots?
By Bret Stuter
LA Rams News: The team will go with Sloman/Forbath/Gay, er Austin MacGinnis to face the New England Patriots?
The LA Rams have had a personnel problem filling the team’s kicker position this year. It’s not for a lack of applicants. So far this season, the Rams have actively signed five different place kickers to the roster. They are in chronological order: Austin MacGinnis, Liram Hajrullahu, drafted rookie Sam Sloman, Kai Forbath, Austin MacGinnis (again, to practice squad) and then Matt Gay.
That number of kickers is greater than the number of kickers signed in a 10 year period. And the Rams are not done just yet. Wednesday, the Rams reported a shoulder injury for kicker Matt Gay, which lowered his availability for this game to questionable. Today, the team reports elevating practice squad kicker Austin MacGinnis to the active roster.
That unto itself is not definitive, but does indicate Rams feel a need to have MacGinnis available for tonight’s game.
Bad omen or just bad luck?
The LA Rams have the better offense and the better defense for this one. But that has been true in both games against the San Francisco 49ers, and perhaps in all games so far this season. But as we have seen in two games against the 49ers, the LA Rams are very capable of shooting themselves in the foot so horribly that the team can lose just about any game on the schedule.
The Patriots win games the hard way. Without the dominance of better talent, the Patriots have rolled up their sleeves and simply won through hard work and better coaching. The defeated the Arizona Cardinals through better coaching. The defeated the Baltimore Ravens by working harder. They defeated the Miami Dolphins by being more physical, and the Las Vegas Raiders by sheer dominating play.
Patriots prey on weaker special teams
This is a 6-6 Patriots team that, much like the Rams, can defeat just about anyone on a good day. How do they have good days? By winning the turnover battle and special teams play. The Rams have an issue this season with turnovers, and are certainly vulnerable. But now, the Rams run the risk of starting a new kicker – their fourth new kicker this season – against a team that has found success all season by preying on weaker special teams units.
Austin MacGinnis may pan out. But this is not going to be easy. Hopefully, the team rallies around his debut. Kicking field goals is up to him. But if the kickoff is not a touchback, the Rams will need to stay in their lanes and cover well. The Rams need this win. And the best way to win is to win as a team.