Rams release kicker Samuel Sloman, seek ‘stability’ from Kai Forbath – Press Enterprise
In beating the Chicago Bears on Monday night, the Rams avoided almost all of the problems that plagued them in a loss to the San Francisco 49ers the week before.
Samuel Sloman had a kick blocked for the third time in seven games, and it brought a quick end to his time with the Rams, who released the rookie Tuesday morning.
That means Kai Forbath, the former Notre Dame High (Sherman Oaks) and UCLA kicker signed Oct. 20, will take over Sunday when the Rams (5-2) play the Dolphins (3-3) in Miami.
Sloman, a seventh-round draft pick from Miami (Ohio), missed three extra-point attempts and had two of those blocked. He failed on his two field-goal attempts longer than 42 yards. The only good news was that none of his misses cost the Rams a game.
Greg Zuerlein was the Rams’ kicker for eight years. In trying to replace him, Sloman lasted seven games.
“Those are never fun conversations,” Rams coach Sean McVay said of cutting Sloman, “but I think he understood we needed to produce at a higher level,”
McVay said Forbath, 33, is “pretty accurate from those inside of the 50-yard range.”
“He’s got experience, and I think that’s really important,” McVay said. “I think he’ll bring some stability to that spot and more consistent production that we haven’t had this year.”
Having given themselves an alternative to Sloman by signing Forbath last week, the Rams created a Plan C by signing kicker Austin MacGinnis for their practice squad Tuesday.
MacGinnis, a former XFL kicker, lost the Rams’ training-camp kicking competition. But McVay said he impressed the coaches with the height on his kicks. That’s what Sloman lacked, the reason for the blocks — a potential problem that McVay said the coaches were aware of before the season.
The Rams’ 24-10 win over the Bears was their first against an opponent with a .500 or better record.
In Miami, they’ll face an improved Dolphins team that’s third in the league in points allowed (18.8 a game) and beat the 49ers.
It’s the Rams’ last game before their week off, after which five of their eight games will be against teams they trail or are tied with in the playoff standings.
“You know, for us, last night was not necessarily a statement win, it was a good win,” McVay said. “We had a lot of respect for the Bears, but we expected to do well. We expected to play well and I expect our team to play well this week too.
“And that’s really all I’m worried about, is this week. Because I think if you start looking at those things (playoff standings), then you don’t take care of your business in the present.”
The Rams are losing rookie safety Terrell Burgess but plan for defensive lineman A’Shawn Robinson to make his debut with the team against Miami.
McVay said Burgess is out for the season after breaking an ankle in Monday’s game.
“It’s a shame because he was doing so well in really both phases, special teams and defense. But he’s got a bright future,” McVay said of Burgess, a third-round draft pick from Utah.
Jordan Fuller (shoulder), the Rams’ other rookie safety, is expected to come off injured reserve after their Week 9 bye.
Robinson returned to practice last week after the free-agent signing spent six weeks on the non-football injury list because of a medical condition found in a training-camp physical.
McVay said he’s “hopeful” tight end Tyler Higbee (hand) will return after missing the Bears game.
Ends and odds
The Rams were favored over Miami by 3 1/2 points Wednesday morning, but the spread was up to 4 later in the day. … The Rams’ win over Chicago moved them up in future betting at OddsChecker.com/US. Their odds shortened to 3.75-1 to win the NFC West (second favorites behind Seattle), 9-1 to win the NFC title (fifth choice) and 20-1 to win the Super Bowl (up from ninth to eighth). … The Rams are 2-11 against the Dolphins, their worst win percentage (.154) vs. any opponent. The teams’ last meeting was in 2016, a 14-10 Miami win in Jared Goff’s first start as Rams quarterback. … Cam Akers hardly played for the second straight week. Sean McVay said it was hard to work the rookie running back into the game with Darrell Henderson (64 yards) and Malcolm Brown (57, one TD) playing well. … The Rams are 30-0 in games they led at halftime in McVay’s four seasons as coach, the longest such streak in the NFL. They led the Bears 10-3 at halftime.