How to interpret K Christopher Dunn's release
There is no easy way to assess placekickers in the NFL than to simply send them onto the football field and ask them to kick the football again and again and again. The torturous part of all that is the prolonged competition that ultimately norms all kickers to the point where initially bad kickers get better, and initially good kickers ultimately miss.
We had several articles so far focusing on the LA Rams special teams players and one article in recent weeks that focused exclusively on Christopher Dunn alone. It was in that feature article where we presented evidence that suggested that Christopher Dunn appeared to have the inside track on earning the LA Rams starting kicker role:
And yet, football is as football does. Christopher Dunn is a placekicker, but he stands 5-foot-8 and weighs 175 pounds. In terms of a kicker, he has tremendous accuracy (see chart above), but is his size a limiting quality?
Perhaps an even greater hurdle for Dunn is the fact that he did not handle kickoff duties. In fact, there were a number of challenges that appeared in his draft profile that included:
- Lack of kickoff duties
- Slow approach, making FGs vulnerable to being blocked
- Accuracy over 50+ yards just 40 percent
While those factors did not prevent the LA Rams from signing the guy to the roster, if those weaknesses stood out in terms of early practices, then the Rams were wise to part ways early. So does that mean that Oklahoma State kicker Tanner Brown has won the job? I don't know if that is a safe conclusion, but it does mean that Brown has the inside track. Brown is another accurate kicker, but his kicking role has been a relatively recent development.
Will the LA Rams import a new kicker from the XFL, USFL, or CFL? Perhaps, but I'm not convinced that the Rams coaching staff has the band width to start over their assessment process from scratch. While I am not willing to say that Tanner Brown has the job, it's clear that Christopher Dunn is done.
And that is how competition works.