The Rams lost Matt Gay to the Indianapolis Colts and the largest kicker free agent contract ever. LA signed Oklahoma State’s Tanner Brown as an undrafted free agent. Robbie Gould “would’ve loved to have gone back” to the 49ers, but instead San Francisco drafted Michigan’s Jake Moody in the third round of this spring’s NFL Draft. Gould remains a free agent and is adamant that he’s ready to play despite recently crossing over age 40.
The early returns for both rookie kickers have not been great. Both Brown and Moody missed their first field goal attempts during their NFL debuts—Brown from 46 and Moody from 40. The silver lining for Los Angeles is that Brown bounced back and made a 39-yard attempt in addition to two extra points.
Moody missed his second attempt from 58-yards, which comes with a high degree of difficulty, but did convert his one extra point. The 49ers made the former Michigan product the highest drafted kicker since the Tampa Bay Buccaneers drafted Robert Aguayo in 2016—who lasted only a single season with the team before losing his job to Nick Folk.
Both the Rams and 49ers expressed confidence in their kickers after the games.
LA’s special teams coordinator, Chase Blackburn, said on Monday that Brown’s miss Saturday evening was his first attempt he was unable to convert within 50 yards in all of training camp—according to The Athletic’s Jourdan Rodrigue. Blackburn also asserted that he’s not concerned with Brown’s leg strength and stressed the importance of focus and the mental aspect of the position:
ST coordinator Chase Blackburn says Tanner Brown’s miss from 46 was his first miss from inside the 50 all of camp. Adds he’s not concerned about leg strength with Brown. That was more so a product of staying situationally focused in moments up to the kick.— Jourdan Rodrigue (@JourdanRodrigue) August 14, 2023
49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan also put more weight in his kicker’s practice production, saying “(Moody’s) been great in practice. He’s hit them all. He handles himself well. No issues with me.”
The Rams and 49ers will faceoff in Week 2 of the regular season in San Francisco. There’s a chance the outcome of that game hinges on a single field goal attempt by a rookie kicker. Will Tanner Brown or Jake Moody be able to get their team a victory, or are their preseason misses a sign of things to come?