LA Rams: 3 reasons to add another placekicker to practice squad

Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports /
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Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports /

The LA Rams thought that the competition for placekicker was behind them. In fact, in the first wave of cuts, backup placekicker Austin MacGinnis was sent packing. After auditioning five different placekickers in 2020, the LA Rams had finally found their guy. He is Matt Gay, and he appeared to gives what proved to be an incredibly elusive combination: distance and accuracy.

So far in the preseason, Matt Gay is one out of two on extra points (50 percent) and one out of two on field goals (50 percent). He made a 36-yard field goal and missed a 43-yard field goal (it was blocked at the line of scrimmage). Time to panic? No. But it certainly does open the door to a conversation that some may not wish to hear.

After the Las Vegas Raiders game, it’s quite clear that the LA Rams may need to revisit how the team configures and manages their special teams’ role players. Is it going out on a limb to assert that the Rams front office and coaching staff had no intention of placing kicker Matt Gay onto the field pulling double duty as both placekicker and punter?  I don’t think anyone felt it was ideal.

Yet that is where the team found itself. Both punters Corey Bojorquez and Johnny Hekker were assigned to the team’s reserve/COVID-19 roster on game day, forcing the team to scramble to find someone on the roster who could punt on no-notice for the game. But the experience highlighted the fact that the Rams, who carried an emergency placekicker in 2020, no longer had a placekicker backup for the 2021 season. And wouldn’t you know it, that was all it took for both punters to be quarantined and all duties to fall to Matt Gay.

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So is opening up a slot for another placekicker simply reactionary? Or did this painful experience prove to the organization that the team is very much still in the woods in terms of vulnerability and risk of nearly instant quarantine of players? I think more of the latter, but there are more reasons to do so: