Sam Ficken

Rams To Stick With Sam Ficken For Week 17

Sam Ficken won a deep competition to replace the injured Greg Zuerlein as the kicker for the NFC West champion Rams last week, but his first NFL game did not go well. The rookie missed a 36-yard field goal and an extra point in a four-point Rams win against the Titans.

Nine other kickers made the trip to Rams headquarters last week, but Sean McVay said he will stick with Ficken going forward.

We’re going to continue to give him an opportunity, and we believe in Sam,” McVay said in team-issued quotes. “Like we said, we loved the way that he responded and I think this week will provide a great chance for him to continue to do some things for our team, and we’re going to move forward with confidence with him.”

McVay indicated the Rams would probably rest starters in Week 17, but Ficken will have possibly the highest-stakes game of any Ram in their regular-season finale against the 49ers. He made his other three extra points last week, but the Rams could pivot to one of the more experienced kickers who took part in the tryout — one that featured Dan Carpenter, Garrett Hartley and Jason Myers — if Ficken falters again on Sunday.

Zuerlein still leads the NFL with 158 points and was voted to his first Pro Bowl a day prior to the Rams placing him on IR.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Rams Worked Out 10 Kickers To Replace Greg Zuerlein

The Rams will be without Greg Zuerlein for the rest of the season. Their Pro Bowl kicker, since placed on IR, will undergo back surgery on Thursday, Sean McVay said (via Alden Gonzalez of ESPN.com).

Zuerlein has been playing through a back injury all season, and McVay labeled it a herniated disk. The 29-year-old kicker aggravated the injury while sleeping the night before the Rams’ Week 15 game in Seattle. McVay said his kicker could barely stand on Sunday, and it affected his performance and Los Angeles’ game plan against the Seahawks.

Up next for Zuerlein will be a 12-week recovery timetable.

As for the replacement effort, Sam Ficken won quite the derby despite having no NFL kicking experience. A 2015 UDFA out of Penn State, Ficken took part in a 10-man kicker audition on Wednesday.

Veteran NFL reporter Howard Balzer reports (on Twitter) the Rams worked out Roberto Aguayo, Dan Carpenter, Travis Coons, Andrew Franks, Garrett Hartley, Marshall Koehn, Younghoe Koo, Mike Meyer and Jason Myers. Two long snappers — Jeff Overbaugh and Drew Farris — and two punters-as-holders (Matt Wile and Austin Rehkow) were also on hand for this unique specialty showcase, per Balzer (on Twitter).

Carpenter and Hartley have extensive NFL experience — a combined 16 seasons’ worth — while Aguayo was selected in the second round only to become a workout journeyman by his second year. He auditioned for the Browns earlier this week and also could not procure the Rams’ kicker job, one that will feature playoff opportunities. Hartley has not kicked in a game since 2014, and Carpenter hasn’t kicked this season.

The Chargers cut Coons earlier this week, but he’s been in Los Angeles for a few weeks now after being the initial Nick Novak replacement for the Bolts. Myers hasn’t kicked since losing his Jaguars job to ex-Charger Josh Lambo, and Franks — a former Dolphin — hasn’t suited up for a 2017 contest either.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Rams To Place Greg Zuerlein On IR

The Rams endured a surprising setback Wednesday that will affect their top-flight special teams units. Greg Zuerlein will go on IR because of a back injury, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets.

He cannot return this season once placed on IR. Zuerlein’s back flared up during the Rams’ road win in Seattle, Vincent Bonsignore of the Los Angeles Daily News tweets.

The Rams will replace their kicker by signing Sam Ficken, Schefter reports. The former Penn State kicker has not attempted an NFL kick.

Zuerlein was just voted to his first Pro Bowl on Tuesday night. He leads the league with 38 made field goals and has missed just two attempts. The sixth-year kicker, and one half of the Rams’ Pro Bowl specialist duo along with punter Johnny Hekker, has also made 44 of his 46 extra point tries.

A sixth-round pick out of Missouri Western in 2012, the strong-legged kicker has missed just two games in his career. Zuerlein missed two contests for the 2015 Rams. He’s enjoyed his best season this year.

The six 50-plus-yard field goal makes — including a season-long of 56 — are the second-most of his career. He of two 58-yard field goals in college and two 60-yard makes in the NFL, the 29-year-old Zuerlein provided the suddenly explosive Los Angeles offense with a safety net once it ventured into field goal range.

Ficken went to camp with the Chiefs this summer and the Jaguars in 2016, being cut after both summers. He worked out for the Chargers earlier this season and will now be one of the more important kickers in the league, with the Rams having authored one of the better turnaround seasons in NFL history. As of now, Ficken — who has not kicked in a game since suiting up with the 2014 Nittany Lions — will be called upon come playoff time.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Chargers Sign K Travis Coons To P-Squad

The Chargers worked out veteran kickers on Tuesday and are planning to sign Travis Coons to their practice squad, Field Yates of ESPN.com reports (on Twitter).

This will serve as a Nick Novak insurance policy. Novak is dealing with a back injury, one that caused him to kick through noticeable pain against the Cowboys. Eric Williams of ESPN.com tweets the Chargers believe Novak can kick against the Browns on Sunday, but Coons will be a backup plan.

Williams reported the Bolts were holding a kicker workout, and veteran NFL reporter Howard Balzer reports (on Twitter) Sam Ficken, Marshall Koehn and Jason Myers joined Coons for the showcase. The Bolts appeared to have called in a long snapper, Jeff Overbaugh, to work with them as well, per Balzer.

Coons will take his place on the Chargers’ 10-man taxi squad.

He worked out for the Lions earlier this season after spending time with the Rams during training camp. The Raiders also rostered Coons, who last kicked for the 2015 Browns. The 25-year-old served as Cleveland’s kicker for all 16 games that season. He made 28 of 32 field goals as a rookie, but Patrick Murray beat him out for the job during the 2016 preseason.

This workout featured different kickers than the October gathering in L.A., arranged because of a Novak ankle ailment. At that point, the Bolts hosted initial 2017 kicking option Younghoe Koo, along with Andrew Franks. Myers attended both workouts. Former Charger specialist Josh Lambo replaced Myers in Jacksonville.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Chiefs Cut Players To Reach 53-Man Limit

The Chiefs are all legal eagle. Here’s how they got down to a 53-man roster:

Released:

PUP List:

Reserve/Injured:

Minor NFL Transactions: 8/8/17

Tuesday’s minor NFL moves:

Atlanta Falcons

  • Signed: RB Kelvin Taylor

Carolina Panthers

  • Claimed: DE Arthur Miley (from Dolphins)
  • Waived/Injured: S Dean Marlowe

Detroit Lions

  • Signed: WR Dez Stewart, CB Tramain Young
  • Waived: WR Ryan Spadola, CB Des Lawrence

Jacksonville Jaguars

Kansas City Chiefs

  • Signed: K Sam Ficken (Twitter link via Terez A. Paylor of the Kansas City Star)

Pittsburgh Steelers

  • Signed: C Lucas Crowley
  • Waived/Injured: C Mike Matthews

Seattle Seahawks

  • Waived: FB Kyle Coleman (Twitter link via Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times)
  • Waived/Injured: OL Robert Myers

Jaguars Waive Eight Players

The Jaguars took a big step towards getting to tomorrow’s 75-man roster max. The team announced that the following players have been waived:

In addition to those cuts, offensive lineman Jeff Linkenbach has been placed on IR, safety Earl Wolff has been waived/injured, and offensive lineman Luke Bowanko (hip) and defensive end Jonathan Woodard (Achilles) have been moved to the PUP list.

McCray is a former starting cornerback and was a member of GM David Caldwell’s first draft class. Evans is a former fourth-round pick of the Jets, one of many underwhelming draft choices by former GM John Idzik.

The Jaguars are now down to 78 players.

Minor NFL Transactions: 7/25/16

Today’s minor moves:

  • The Redskins have waived 2015 sixth-round pick Kyshoen Jarrett with a failed physical designation, according to Tarik El-Bashir of CSNMidAtlantic.com (Twitter link). Jarrett appeared in all 16 games last season (starting five), but was unlikely to play in 2016 due to a neck injury.
  • The Panthers signed tight end Eric Wallace and waived wide receiver Cobi Hamilton, as Jonathan Jones of the Charlotte Observer tweets. Wallace played college basketball at Ohio State and DePaul, and then spent three years playing Australian Rules Football. A few weeks ago, the 6’6″, 260-pounder worked out for Carolina and ran the 40-yard dash in 4.6 seconds, which led to today’s signing, according to a team press release.
  • The Packers waived running Don Jackson with a non-football injury, and also cut defensive end B.J. McBryde, reports Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com, who adds that Green Bay’s roster now stands at 88.
  • The Texans signed undrafted rookie wide receiver Quenton Bundrage from Iowa State, Mark Berman of FOX 26 tweets. To make room, Houston has cut wide receiver Richard Mullaney, as Aaron Wilson of The Houston Chronicle tweets.
  • The Jaguars have signed former Penn State kicker Sam Ficken, bringing the roster to 90 players, as Michael DiRocco of ESPN.com tweets.