– Before the Rams went ahead and selected kicker Greg Zuerlein of tiny Missouri Western in the sixth round of the draft on Saturday, Rams coach Jeff Fisher made sure he informed incumbent kicker Josh Brown that the move was forthcoming. He also informed Brown that he’d subsequently be released and that the decision had been made to give Zuerlein the opportunity.
“He’s already been informed of that,” Fisher said Saturday night. “Josh was a great kicker and is tremendous here in the community and has got deep roots here. I spoke with him immediately after the pick, and he understands.”
– Releasing Brown saves the Rams nearly $3 million in salary cap space but that wasn’t the driving force behind the move. Rather, the chance to add a strong leg such as Zuerlein’s became too good to pass up after special teams coach John Fassel worked him out twice and saw first hand the type of ability possessed by Zuerlein.
“Coach Fassel went out and did private workouts with a number of kickers and punters and he came back and literally was blown away at the leg, the distance on the kickoffs and the distance and accuracy in the field goal game,” Fisher said. “Twenty-three-of-24 and nine over 50 (yards), two over 58 in one game – that’s extraordinary. We felt like this was going to be a need. We need to upgrade the position, so we couldn’t pass on this opportunity. And we’re glad we didn’t because you saw what Minnesota did right after.”
– Zuerlein figures to step right into the mix and handle the top kicking duties right away. The Rams also have Garrett Lindholm on the roster to help provide a breather when Zuerlein needs one.
– Brown’s release means the Rams will almost certainly be turning over the kicking and punting jobs to rookies this year. Punter Donnie Jones departed for a free agent deal with Houston earlier this offseason.
– That means the most tenured player amongst the Rams’ specialists figures to be long snapper Jake McQuaide, who replaced veteran Chris Massey last offseason.
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