The Los Angeles Rams moved quickly to re-sign kicker Brett Maher after releasing Lucas Havrisik on January 1. Maher was cut by LA following a loss to the Steelers where he missed two field goals and an extra point. Will the veteran make the most of his second chance with the team?
I may come to regret this comment come playoff time, but I appreciate that the coaching staff was willing to give Maher another opportunity. His release after the Steelers game was warranted, only the Rams didn’t have a quality replacement waiting in the wings.
Given my feelings, that’s not to say I’m fully confident in his abilities. I’m pretty sure we all remember the cruel memes that came to light in wake of his playoff debacle against the Buccaneers last January.
Brett Maher's historically bad kicking night continues— The Athletic (@TheAthletic) January 17, 2023
Maher has now missed FOUR extra points against the Bucs tonight.
Prior to the game, Cowboys kickers had only missed two extra points in the franchise’s entire postseason history.https://t.co/dn2uJJ4pOb pic.twitter.com/oUy3MOczYi
If it’s any consolation and I’m sure it isn’t, Maher only missed one extra point in his seven appearances while Havrisik missed three. Yay! Anyone feeling less nauseous yet?
Maher was re-signed as he had a wealth of NFL experience. The veteran connected on all seven of his attempts inside 39 yards and made 7-of-9 attempts from 40-49 yards. His major issue was knocking through kicks from 50-plus yards as he only made 3-of-7 attempts from that range. So assuming Sean McVay is well aware of his kicker’s range, nothing to lose sleep over right?
Either way, I’m still nervous AF and my media consumption isn’t helping matters. Bill Barnwell of ESPN dove into the weaknesses of nine teams that have already clinched a playoff berth. Not surprisingly, Barnwell listed kicker as the Rams’ flaw in his January 4 column:
“Sean McVay’s team ranks last in the NFL in value gained on field goals and extra points this season. The Rams have hit on just 80.7% of their field goal and extra point attempts in 2023, a mark which ranks 31st in the league. Only the Patriots have been worse.
The only positive is that opposing kickers have landed only 85.7% of their kicks against the Rams, which is also 31st in the NFL. But unfortunately, preventing teams from succeeding on field goals and extra points is random luck; there’s no reason to believe the Rams will be as successful at keeping kicks from splitting the uprights in the postseason. Having a good kicker, on the other hand, isn’t luck. And right now, the Rams don’t appear to have one.”
There is every reason to believe LA’s rebound campaign will be ended at the hands of poor special teams play. I certainly hope that will not end up being the case. Losing on a crushing special teams error is one of the most painful feelings to endure as a football fan. It’s difficult not to let those nagging thoughts creep into my head as the struggles have been present all season long. They’re not going away people!
The #Rams special teams have left 36 points on the board this season and are the 6th worst special teams unit by DVOA of all time. They’ve gone through 5 kickers this season and are now back to Maher. It’s about to be playoffs, it’s now or never for that unit..— HoldenCantor (@HoldenCantor) January 5, 2024
The play of the special teams is not going to magically change overnight and Brett Maher shouldn’t inspire much confidence. Rams faithful will be watching his second chance closely with the playoffs on the horizon. Let’s just hope the team’s newfound faith in Maher wasn’t misguided.