Tanner Brown: The Sequel?
Whatever else you may think, feel, or conclude about the LA Rams' willingness to re-sign kicker Tanner Brown to a Reserve/Future contract, one thing is now certain. The LA Rams are not forced into a situation where they must draft a kicker in the 2024 NFL Draft. That rates him as the 29th-ranked kicker in the NFL. While that is still better than either Havrisik or Maher, it's not better by much.
Tanner Brown arrived to the Rams roster with plenty of reasons to believe that he would succeed in the NFL.
The LA Rams opted to part ways with rookie kicker Tanner Brown after mixed results in training camp. Yahoo Sports writer Skyler Carlin quoted Rams ST Coordinator Chase Blackburn after the Rams opted for Brett Mather over Brown, an interview that takes on new meaning right now:
"Yeah, at the end of the day we had three rookies, love to get a veteran in here. Not only for the ability, he’s been through it, done it, seen it, had those playoff opportunities, had different opportunities, and seen what it’s like to be in big game environments. And so for him to come in here and give us something, especially after we got to see him for a couple days and see how well he was kicking the ball there in Denver was a big deal. And obviously, Tanner missed again in the preseason and that’s the unfortunate part about kicking is it’s about kind of a what have you done for me lately-type deal. And that’s one of the positions where you only get so many attempts or so many looks at it, especially in the preseason where we move from four games to three games now, right? So you get limited reps and limited looks in actual game activity and it’s about producing when those lights come on."- Rams ST Coordinator Chase Blackburn
The LA Rams' willingness to bring Tanner Brown back for 2024 may seem curious to some, intriguing to others, and simply a foolish move by the rest of the fans. But I encourage you to listen and view this postgame media event with ST Coordinator Chase Blackburn after the Rams' first preseason loss to the Los Angeles Chargers. You can see the entire 5:19 media Q&A by clicking THIS LINK HERE.
Blackburn talked about how Tanner Brown was flawless in training camp, and how he was kicking through the uprights at a distance of 65 yards. Was it just coachspeak? I don't think so. Blackburn talked about Tanner Brown's leg strength, hitting 50-yard field goals routinely in training camp, and even kicking one from a distance of 65 yards.
I'm willing to keep an open mind, and I hope that you are too. While the Rams want to lock down the kicker position to a point where it is no longer a quandary, I believe that the Rams coaching staff is not chasing a wild goose with this signing. Drafting a new rookie for 2024 comes with its own set of risks and challenges. Even signing a veteran, which is a more expensive proposition, is no guarantee that the Rams will get it right.
Tanner Brown may not be the best option for the Rams in 2024, but he could prove to be a good option. And with Brown on the roster, the pressure is off the team's front office to address a minor, but vital, role for Rams roster in 2024.