Sam Ficken could have been the starting kicker for the Green Bay Packers in 2019. He was likely never going to be with Mason Crosby a 12-season veteran of the NFL, but he could have been. That’s important for his future.
The third-year kicker hasn’t had much production in his three-year pro career, but he put on a show during the preseason after the Packers grabbed him off the waivers from the Seattle Seahawks in May. Ficken made all five of his extra-point kicks as well as drilling a 41-yard field goal, and his kicks in training camp have been solid.
According to ESPN’s Rob Demovsky, Ficken credited Crosby after Thursday’s preseason finale for helping him along and staying a professional during their kicking competition.
“He was a stand-up guy the whole time,” Ficker said. “He’s an exceptional kicker. So credit to him and how he helped me along and just the little things you can pick up from one another, so that’s been great.”
But now Ficken’s time is over, as first reported by NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero, which raises the question of which teams could use a promising leg like his heading into the 2019 season. Here are some of his best-case landing zones.
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To say the Bears have been stressing out about their kicking situation since last year’s heartbreaking playoff loss would be a serious understatement.
Cody Parkey’s double-doink that ended a resurgent season for Chicago is still very much on the mind of Matt Nagy and his coaching staff, evidenced by their ludicrous kicking competition this offseason that saw them bring in as many as nine guys to vie for the starting job. That gig finally went to Eddy Pineiro, who promptly shanked an extra point in the Bears’ preseason finale and further complicated the situation.
Should the Bears — who have been critical all training camp of kicking misses — decide Pineiro isn’t the right fit, Ficken could join their sideline in time for Thursday’s regular-season opener against the Packers.
New York Jets
Speaking of Parkey, the Jets reportedly included him in a kicking tryout Saturday morning before the roster cutdown. Ficken won’t be able to fly into New York quickly enough to join the audition, but he could fill the void if Parkey and ex-Los Angeles Chargers kicker Younghoe Koo.
The Jets have been searching since placekicker Chandler Catanzaro unexpectedly retired early in training camp after a rough opening stretch, leaving Taylor Bertolet as their only kicker on roster. But Bertolet finished the preseason making five of eight field goals and just two of four extra points.