Just as they did in 2020, the Los Angeles Rams are once again cycling through kickers. They had rookies Christopher Dunn and Tanner Brown competing for the job during the offseason before settling on Brown. Then, they cut Brown before the season started and signed Brett Maher to the practice squad, giving him a shot to be their Matt Gay replacement.
That didn’t work out, either. On Tuesday, they cut Maher after he missed three kicks in Sunday’s loss and seven on the season: six field goals and one PAT. Four of Maher’s six misses were from beyond 50 yards, including 56- and 57-yarders, but the Rams weren’t satisfied with the job he did from week to week.
On Wednesday, Sean McVay explained the decision to cut Maher, admitting he put the kicker in some tough spots with those long attempts.
“Want to thank Brett Maher for his contributions,” McVay said. “I do think that it wouldn’t be accurate to honestly assess that he’s been a really good kicker for a long time, handled himself with pure class, did a good job. There were some tough situations that I put him in that doesn’t go lost on me. It’s not exclusively … anytime you just look at some of these things it’s gratitude, appreciation, recognition for the good things that he did. It wasn’t like easy spots that he was put in with some of these 50-yarders. Had as many field goals made going into Week 7 as anybody in the league with two other kickers. There were a lot of good things. It wasn’t a for-sure decision, but it was something that we felt like was the best decision. Whether or not it ends up being the right one, you try to weigh the factors and you try to be as accurate with those assessments as possible.”
To take Maher’s place as the Rams’ primary kicker moving forward, they signed Lucas Havrisik off the Browns’ practice squad. Though he hasn’t kicked in a regular-season game as a pro, the Rams like what he brings to the table.
“Well, I think, a lot of the potential, a lot of the talent in terms of when you talk about as a quarterback, the ball jumping off of a guy’s hand and being able to throw consistent spiral change in trajectories. This is the same thing that you talk about,” McVay said. “Consistent ball flight, immediate height, consistency with the approach, and a lot of the things that you liked when you go back to his career at Arizona. They had liked him in Cleveland. Matt Gay’s feedback was something that that weighed into it as well based on him being around him in Indianapolis.”
Havrisik obviously doesn’t have the experience that Maher or Gay do, but that doesn’t seem to bother McVay. He doesn’t sound fully committed to Havrisik as their long-term solution and they’ll see how he does, but this is the direction Los Angeles is headed right now.
“You got to start somewhere, right?” McVay said. “You look at all of these guys had to be able to get their experience somewhere and so I don’t think that can make you gun shy. I think you want to be realistic about some of those spots similar to what was asked earlier there. So I think we’ll evaluate how the week goes. We’ll see how Lucas does. Got a couple other guys that you potentially look at via practice squad spots and then we’ll make the best decision as it relates to how we approach Dallas.”