Sam Ficken

Packers Claim K Sam Ficken

The Packers have claimed kicker Sam Ficken off of waivers from the Seahawks, a source tells Field Yates of ESPN.com (on Twitter). Ficken now appears poised to compete for the club’s kicking job alongside Mason Crosby

Ficken served as Greg Zuerlein‘s injury replacement, but the Rams cut him prior to Zuerlein recovering. Ficken’s brief trial period ended after he missed two of three field goal tries between Weeks 3 and 4.

Crosby, meanwhile, has been the Packers’ kicker since entering the league in 2007. On the whole, Crosby has been very solid, but he had some shaky moments last year, including four missed field goals in a 31-23 loss to the Lions in October.

For his career, Crosby has converted on 80.4% of his field goal tries and 98% of his extra point attempts.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Panthers Work Out Caleb Sturgis, Chandler Catanzaro, Others

Graham Gano has been the Panthers’ kicker since 2012, and he’s made 13 of 15 field goal attempts this season. But he’s run into trouble recently, and those issues have overlapped with Carolina’s three-game losing streak.

The Panthers are exploring other options. They brought in kickers Chandler Catanzaro, Caleb Sturgis, Sam Ficken and Matt McCrane for workouts Tuesday, Sirius XM Radio’s Adam Caplan tweets.

Gano missed a go-ahead 52-yard field goal in Carolina’s loss to Seattle on Sunday and missed an extra point, one of the three he’s misfired on this season, in a one-point loss in Detroit in Week 11. For the season, the 31-year-old specialist is 28-for-31 on PATs. He missed three extra points in each of the past three seasons.

Sturgis and Catanzaro saw the Chargers and Buccaneers, respectively, replace them midway through this season. Ficken served as Greg Zuerlein‘s injury replacement, but the Rams cut him prior to Zuerlein recovering; Ficken missed 2 of 3 field goal tries. McCrane went to camp with the Cardinals and received a four-game opportunity with the Raiders. Said opportunity included four missed field goals.

Carolina and Gano agreed to terms on a four-year contract in March. It would cost the Panthers more than $5MM in dead money to cut Gano now. At $4.25MM AAV, Gano is the second-highest-paid kicker in the game.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Redskins Work Out 5 Kickers

Dustin Hopkins‘ availability for Week 11 appears to be in question, so the Redskins are getting an early start on examining replacement help.

With Hopkins “a bit banged up,” per Field Yates of ESPN.com (Twitter links), Washington brought in several kickers for a Tuesday workout.

Blair Walsh, Roberto Aguayo, Kai Forbath, Sam Ficken and Jon Brown participated, Yates reports. Of the quintet, only Ficken has kicked in a 2018 game. Walsh and Forbath had gigs last season, with the Seahawks and Vikings, respectively, while Aguayo has not kicked in a game since his rough 2016 season.

Forbath has a history with Washington, having been Hopkins’ predecessor. The UCLA product served as the Redskins’ kicker from 2012-14 before moving on to roles with the Saints and Vikings. The latter cut him this year, giving the job to rookie Daniel Carlson, whose grip on it lasted two games.

The Redskins went through this with Hopkins last season. He missed eight games in 2017, and Washington used Nick Rose as its kicker during that time. Rose is not believed to have been among today’s tryout contingent. Also perhaps soon to be available is Chandler Catanzaro, whom the Buccaneers sent to waivers on Monday. But his two misses Sunday helped the Redskins pick up a road win.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFL Workout Updates: 11/5/18

Here’s the latest from the workout circuit. All links go to Sirius XM Radio’s Adam Caplan Twitter account, unless otherwise noted.

Cleveland Browns

Cincinnati Bengals

Houston Texans

Indianapolis Colts

Jacksonville Jaguars

Oakland Raiders

Philadelphia Eagles

Extra Points: Harbaugh, Browns, Packers, Chiefs

Earlier today, it was reported that Ravens coach John Harbaugh was on the hot seat. It was reported Harbaugh was under “mounting pressure” to turn his team’s season around, and things didn’t get any better today. The team lost to the Steelers and slipped below .500, but despite the loss Harbaugh wasn’t sweating the media reports after the game.

Harbaugh “certainly didn’t act worried” during his post-game press conference, according to Jamison Hensley of ESPN.com. Harbaugh didn’t sound like he was worried about his job security even though the team dropped its third straight game today. Harbaugh has had a ton of success during his tenure in Baltimore, but things have been rocky the past couple of years and the Ravens reportedly considered parting ways after last season. Despite his defiant tone today, it certainly seems like the 11-year Harbaugh era in Baltimore could be coming to a close. The Ravens are heading into their bye week, so it’s possible we hear news of a switch as early as this week.

Here’s more from around the league:

  • The Browns haven’t been able to get any consistency in the kicking game all season, and worked out a slew of specialists Saturday, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN (Twitter link). Schefter notes that the team worked out kickers “Sam Ficken, Marshall Koehn, Younghoe Koo, Jon Brown and Tyler Rausa.” It wouldn’t be surprising if the team moved on from current kicker Greg Joseph soon.
  • Speaking of specialists, the Packers made the unusual move of adding a second punter earlier this week, and nobody really knew why. There’s more clarity on the situation now, as they only signed Drew Kaser because incumbent punter J.K. Scott’s wife was due to have a baby tonight, according to Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com. It sounds like the team isn’t planning on making a change, and Kaser’s stay on the roster should be short-lived.
  • The Chiefs are clearly a Super Bowl contender and are in win-now mode, so plenty of people were surprised when they didn’t make any moves at the trade deadline to boost their defense. The team had reportedly been interested in trading for Earl Thomas earlier this year, but stood pat at the deadline, and now we know why. The Chiefs did try to trade for Landon Collins close to the deadline but weren’t able to strike a deal, according to Albert Breer of SI.com, who also writes that Kansas City’s coaching staff “has faith” that the team’s group of young defenders will continue to “improve as they go along.”

NFL Workout Updates: 10/26/18

Here are today’s reported tryouts:

Denver Broncos

  • P Brock Miller

New Orleans Saints

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The Saints have had some injuries on the defensive line recently, so it makes sense why they’d bring in this group. With this large of an amount of players brought in, they will likely be signing someone soon. The Buccaneers are clearly evaluating their kicking options after Chandler Catanzaro has struggled to start the year. He made a game-winning 59-yard field goal in overtime last week, but missed an extra point and a 40-yarder at the end of regulation before that. Both Ficken and Santos have kicked for the Rams this season.

Rams To Release K Sam Ficken

The Rams are releasing kicker Sam Ficken and intend to sign another veteran to kick until Greg Zuerlein is recovered from his groin injury, a source tells Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (on Twitter). The kicker auditions will include veterans Cairo Santos and Kai Forbath, Mike Garafolo of NFL.com tweets.

Ficken, 25, took over for an injured Zuerlein at the tail end of the 2017 regular season and called upon to do the same thing this year. Unfortunately, he’s struggled in his two games, making just one of three field goal tries. The Rams are 4-0, but missed field goals could obviously cost them down the line.

Santos has historically been a solid kicker, but he’s dealt with a nagging groin injury for more than a year. Forbath, meanwhile, was released by the Vikings in August losing out to rookie Daniel Carlson. In 2017, Forbath converted 32-of-38 field goal attempts (including six-of-nine from 50+ yards), and his 84.2 accuracy percentage ranked 16th in the NFL.

Rams To Sign K Sam Ficken

The Rams are expected to sign kicker Sam Ficken to fill in for Greg Zuerlein, who injured his groin during warmups on Sunday, tweets Mike Garafolo of NFL.com (Twitter link).

Ficken, 25, is quite familiar with Los Angeles, as he took over for an injured Zuerlein at the tail end of the 2017 regular season and into the playoffs. He converted two-of-three field goals and four-of-five extra points during in two regular season contests before making both field goal attempts during the Rams’ postseason loss. Ficken was with the Rams during the summer but was waived during final cutdowns.

Zuerlein, of course, is one of the NFL’s best kickers, and earned both first-team All-Pro and Pro Bowl honors in 2017. He ranked third last season with a 95% field goal conversion rate, and made six-of-seven attempts from 50+ yards. Per Garafolo, it’s currently unclear how long Zuerlein will be sidelined, but the Rams don’t intend to place him on injured reserve, tweets Ian Rapoport of NFL.com.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.