After the LA Rams released rookie kicker Sam Sloman in 2020, the Rams embarked on a rather storied journey before arriving at the solution to the team's kicking woes in PK Matt Gay. Like veteran kicker Greg Zuerlein before him, Gay was blessed with a powerful leg that was also quite accurate from 40+ yards.
Prior to his release, Sloman was just 18 of 21 on extra points, and just 8 of 11 on field goals. From a distance of 40+ yards? Sloman was only one out of three.
Somehow the rules seemed to change a bit for veteran kicker Brett Maher in 2023. While he lasted just seven games, he was 12 of 13 on extra points, and 17 of 23 on field goals. But let's dig a bit deeper. You see, he was 10 of 16 from 40+ yards. Somehow Sloman's three attempts skyrocketed to 16 attempts for Maher.
Maher did not just fail to make kicks. He failed to mask offensive drives that stalled. Maher made all seven field goal of 40 yards or less. But over 40+ yards, his accuracy dropped, just as it does with nearly all NFL kickers. Even Matt Gay is just 7 of 9 at 40+ yards this season for the Indianapolis Colts.
Are the Rams looking for a unicorn?
The LA Rams signed kicker Lucas Havrisik after releasing Maher. But followed that up by auditioning five additional kickers. Do any of them possess a strong and accurate leg?
Let's cite the statistics of each kicker over 40+ yards:
- Lucas Havrisik | No stats
- Mason Crosby | 40-49 yards 101 of 135 | 50+ yards 43 of 78
- Austin Seibert | 40-49 yards 17 of 24 | 50+ yards 2 of 6
- Tucker McCann | No stats
- Matthew Wright | 40-49 yards 11 of 14| 50+ yards 6 of 8
- Randy Bullock | 40-49 yards 70 of 91 | 50+ yards 14 of 28
Without any evidence, based solely on their historical performances, former Pittsburgh Steelers kicker Matthew Wright has the best track record for power and accuracy. But he may not have performed well in this do-or-go-home tryout for the Rams.
Kickers like Greg Zuerlein and Matt Gay are very unique in the NFL, and the LA Rams were quite fortunate to have had both on the roster. But is there better than Brett Maher? Yes, there are.
The trouble is finding him. Right now, the LA Rams front office is pulling out all stops to locate him. But, finding a better kicker mid-season is like finding a needle in a haystack. I don't know if the Rams will upgrade the kicker at all this season. If they do, I highly recommend that the team sign that player to a multi-year contract.