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    Rams betting on kicker Lucas Havrisik’s potential
    • October 27, 2023

    THOUSAND OAKS – After his 1-for-3 performance against the Steelers dropped Brett Maher to 10-for-16 on field goals of 40 yards or longer this season, the Rams decided they had to make a change. Such is the landscape for NFL kickers, with margins for mistakes so small.

    But after the Rams released the veteran – inconsistent, perhaps, but a known quantity – they went in a very different direction with the signing of Lucas Havrisik.

    Havrisik has spent the first year-plus of his career on practice squads, first with the Colts in 2022 before the Browns this season. He has yet to play in an NFL regular season game, and the last time he attempted a kick in a meaningful contest was during his senior year at Arizona, when he made 9 of 14 field-goal attempts.

    Rams special teams coordinator Chase Blackburn said Thursday the time was right to make a move at kicker after the Steelers game, and said he was encouraged after seeing Havrisik practice with the team for the first time Wednesday.

    “No. 1, we’re trying to find kickers who make kicks. We’re trying to find a guy that can come in here and be the solution Day 1, and we hope that we’ve found that,” special teams coordinator Chase Blackburn said. “You can go with the vet, a guy that’s proven but may be on the different part of his career path versus a young guy that’s earning the right.”

    Blackburn pointed to former Rams kicker Matt Gay as a model for Havrisik. Gay was waived by Tampa Bay after struggling through his rookie season. He spent a year with the Colts on their practice squad, before coming to the Rams and becoming a reliable piece of a Super Bowl team.

    “That’s what you’re really hoping to find in a young guy like Lucas, that he can come and the moment’s not too big,” Blackburn said. “If he can do that, stay in the right mental space with the ball flight and the ball he hits and his leg strength, there’s a ton of upside with that kid.”

    Gay actually played a role in Havrisik’s arrival in Los Angeles. They spent part of the spring together in Indianapolis before Havrisik left for the Browns, and Gay put in a good word for the young kicker as the Rams scoured the league for an option.

    It’s a homecoming of sorts for Havrisik, a Riverside native back in Southern California and within driving distance from his parents.

    “It feels great,” Havrisik said. “It was kind of weird flying in because I was like, I haven’t been to California in like six years. I don’t really come back. I was like, ‘Man, this is nice.’”

    This week is about Havrisik getting into a rhythm with his new operation mates, long snapper Alex Ward and holder Ethan Evans. Havrisik’s hold preference is similar to Maher’s, so it’s an easy transition, something that Blackburn says the Rams considered when looking for a new kicker.

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    Blackburn has been happy with what he’s seen of Havrisik’s leg strength and the way the ball sails off his foot. As the Rams look for a permanent solution at kicker, Havrisik says he feels no undue pressure entering this weekend’s game against the Dallas Cowboys.

    “You have to the confidence that you’re going to make every kick,” Havrisik said. “Can’t put too much pressure and say, ‘I gotta make this kick, I gotta make this kick.’ Like Jordan and LeBron, they go in there and let their body do it. So you just gotta go out there and let your body do it instead of thinking about it.”


    Right tackle Rob Havenstein was a non-participant in Thursday’s practice with a calf injury. Havenstein had been a full participant on Wednesday.

    ​ Orange County Register