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2018 Los Angeles Rams Roster Preview: K Greg Zuerlein kicked off

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Long promised potential, Legatron never quite made good on his capability...until 2017. And after all that time as he was headed to an NFL record season, his year was cut short by injury. Does Young GZ still have his game on lock heading into 2018?

Los Angeles Rams K Greg Zuerlein lines up a kick against the Arizona Cardinals in Week 13, December 3, 2017.
Los Angeles Rams K Greg Zuerlein lines up a kick against the Arizona Cardinals in Week 13, December 3, 2017.
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Immediate full disclosure: I’m a huge Greg Zuerlein fan.

Ever since the 2012 season, we saw a kicker with a rare skill set for the position. Plus accuracy with an unbelievable range. His stats were often skewed by his unique range that made 60-, 65- and perhaps even 70-yard field goal attempts more than just thinkable.

But then the 2015 season hit, and with it Zuerlein’s confidence.

So as the St. Louis Rams relocated to Los Angeles, Zuerlein was in need of a bounceback as he had to fight in the first roster battle of his career in the 2016 preseason. He did that and put together a solid year as the offense was so bereft of capability that it denied Zuerlein of a fair work rate.

Then 2017 happened.

Under new Head Coach Sean McVay, the offense exploded and with it, the opportunities. And Zuerlein took full advantage.

GZ missed just two field goals all year going 38/40 including going 6/7 beyond 50 yards with a wild Week 4 performance against the Dallas Cowboys in which he made all seven attempts to go with two extra points.

He was on pace to break the single-season scoring record when we learned he had to go on injured reserve with a worsening back injury in December. And now, he returns with a job unfinished. With the the closure on praise left unsaid.

No, his 2018 season might not be able to live up to his 2017. No, his regularity, his dependability may not be a lock given (a) his injury and (b) the volatility of the kicker position that even he experienced back in 2015.

But the Leg will always have the chance to make good as long as opportunities come his way. And if the Rams’ 2018 offense looks anything like last year, and it’s hard to see why it wouldn’t, GZ should be back in comfortable position.

Finishing off touchdowns and capping successful drives to keep the Rams ahead of the curve offensively in the biggest season in a decade and a half.

And that’s just fine with me.

Roster Battle

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Expectations

This one’s tough since the kicker position is so wild. Things can turn on a dime. The tolerance for malfeasance at the position is uniquely thin. And to boot, GZ’s coming off a back injury, the kind of thing that can completely derail careers.

So let’s just put it on early returns. If GZ looks like GZ through camp and the preseason and early in to the season, I don’t see why the expectation shouldn’t be in line with the rest of his career. Not to expect things in line with 2017, but there’s no reason he can’t be reliable throughout the year if he’s fully mended.

Chances of making the final roster (10/10)

I want the 70-yarder. I want the history. I want Legatron.