There truly is nothing very special about the LA Rams special teams in 2023. The LA Rams are simply not very good at it. Well, I suppose that you get what you pay for, right? After all, the LA Rams have committed the least salary to their special teams specialists. Per Spotrac.com, the average spent by an NFL team on their kicker position is $5.1 million. The Baltimore Ravens have spent $7.9 million on their kicker, punter, and long snapper. But the LA Rams have spent much less.
How much less? In 2023, the Rams have spent just $1.2 million on their special teams specialists. How can that be?
Starting rookie Alex Ward is on Injured Reserve. Placekickers have been running through a turnstile, with the LA Rams rifling through rookie kickers Tanner Brown and Christopher Dunn, veteran kicker Brett Maher, young kicker Lucas Havrisik, and now back to kicker Brett Maher. The only Steady Freddie among the entire bunch has been punter Ethan Evans, and even he has had one punt partially blocked, as well as kicking beyond his coverage.
The truth of any NFL Championship team is the simple fact that all three phases of the game have to be competent enough to win a football game. For the LA Rams, competency on special teams is a bit of a moving target.
Kickers Brett Maher and Lucas Havrisik have combined for the LA Rams to make just 32 of 43 field goal attempts this season. While the pair have been perfect up to 39 yards, they struggle beyond a distance of 40 yards or greater. They have combined to make just 14 of 25 field goal attempts of 40+ yards this season: 9 of 15 from 40-49 yards, and just 5 of 10 from 50+ yards distance.
Complicating matters worse, the pair had combined to kick just 32 of 37 extra point attempts this season.
Don't look for the Detroit Lions to struggle with kicking in the Wild Card Round of the 2024 NFL Playoffs. While the Lions had used two kickers this season, they have managed to make four of five field goals from a distance beyond 40 yards, and had made 48 of 52 extra points this season.
The LA Rams are as good as it gets whenever the offense or defense takes the football field. But not even I will try to paint the Rams field goal unit as anything better than spinning the wheel of chance.
Even if the LA Rams are the better team offensively, and the better team defensively, the Lions will clearly hold the upper hand on special teams. Can the Rams win a playoff game that averages 6.85 points per touchdown, to the Lions 6.99 points? We are about to find out. Buckle up folks, we don't want you to be thrown out of your seat mid-game. . .