So we’ve gotten through the individual players in our 2016 roster preview series. Time to take a look at the units starting with special teams.
P Johnny Hekker: 10/10 chance to make the final roster
LS Jake McQuaide: 9.99/10
K Greg Zuerlein: 7/10
K Taylor Bertolet: 1/10
There’s not a ton to overthink here right now. The Rams have been set in terms of their special teams core for years.
McQuaide has been around since 2011 while Zuerlein and Hekker both came along in 2012. And while Legatron’s...on his last legs (I had to), he still has a hold on the Rams’ kicking job.
Not as of today. Now if GZ misses a kick in the preseason? Or more than one? Yeah, it’s not gonna take much to ratchet the pressure up. Today though, it’s still his to lose.
Fisherball relies heavily on special teams. Whether it’s leaning into Johnny Hekker with the most guaranteed money ever offered to a specialist or routinely trotting Zuerlein out for 60+ yarders or propping up the unit that has ensured Benny Cunningham is always among the league’s top kickoff returners, that reliance has usually been justified.
Now with rookie franchise QB Jared Goff joining second-year star Just Todd Gurley, the question is why an offense heading into its fifth year guided by Head Coach Jeff Fisher and General Manager Les Snead would need to remain propped up by teams.
If Hekker is consistently given room to boom punts into the corner and GZ isn’t getting close enough to get into reliable range as has been the case in years past...well, your special teamers aren’t supposed to be stars.
Impact on Final Roster
Well, special teams are always locked in with three players, so this is unique compared to other units. There’s no reason (and honestly no justification) for keeping more than three heading into Week 1.