Rams undecided on starting kicker, could have two active vs. Bucs

It’s been a revolving door at kicker for the Rams this season, cycling through player after player in an attempt to replace the departed Greg Zuerlein. Samuel Sloman failed to and Kai Forbath got hurt after experiencing struggles of his own, opening the door for two more kickers: Austin MacGinnis and Matt Gay.

MacGinnis is on the practice squad and Gay was signed to the 53-man roster, but both are eligible to kick on Monday night against the Buccaneers. MacGinnis has an edge, having been with the Rams during the offseason and now again in-season, while Gay will be eligible to practice for the first time Saturday.

Sean McVay likes what he’s seen from MacGinnis, but he’s not ready to make him the team’s primary kicker for Week 11.

“He’s done really well with that,” McVay said of his kick height and hangtime. “You can see guys are excited. He’s had two good practices now and definitely been positive. There’s nothing quite like getting into those real games. But with what he can control, he’s done a really nice job these last couple of days. We’ve been very pleased with Austin.”

Gay will have one day to prove himself to the coaches, with his arrival being delayed due to COVID-19 protocols. If he kicks well in practice on Saturday, however, he could get the nod against the Buccaneers.

“I mean, (MacGinnis) has done a great job controlling what he can, but Matt is going to get an opportunity to come in here Saturday, compete, and we’re going to make the best decision for the Rams,” he said Friday. “… The kickoff thing is a big part of it as well. So, we’ll take all those things into consideration. One of those two guys will kick for us on Monday, but definitely nothing is set in stone and we’re going to be open-minded when Matt comes in here.”

Because of new rules put in place by the NFL to help teams through the pandemic and positive COVID-19 tests, the Rams could very easily have both kickers active on Monday night without needing to create an extra roster spot.

MacGinnis can be elevated from the practice squad to the game-day roster twice and the Rams wouldn’t need to cut anyone to make room for him. Gay is already on the 53-man roster, so he’s eligible to kick right away, but it’s not out of the question for the Rams to have both active Monday.

“You can do that because the nice thing is, because (MacGinnis) is on our practice squad, you have two opportunities to be able to bring him up with the situation and it doesn’t affect your 53,” McVay explained. “So, that could easily be something that we would do. Then if you feel like that’s your guy moving forward, then maybe you decide, ‘OK, do we need to create a spot?’ But because we’ve been able to stay fairly healthy and then put some of those other guys on IR, it’s not like we’re really reaching to feel like, ‘Oh man, we have to get this guy up or I have to get this guy down.’ Because you can only have those 48 on game day anyways. If that’s a direction that we go, it doesn’t hinder us at all.”

Saturday’s competition will likely decide which kicker the Rams roll with in Tampa Bay, but that could also change in Week 12 against the 49ers if whoever they pick struggles Monday night. Los Angeles has options and it seems the team is going to consider every possibility this week.

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