Former Colts Fan-Favorite Visits Division Rival: Report

Indianapolis Colts

Getty Indianapolis Colts head coach Frank Reich could still see one of his recently cut former players this season.

Former Indianapolis Colts kicker Rodrigo Blankenship didn’t get to make the team’s annual trip to Jacksonville this year. The Colts cut Blankenship on September 13 ahead of the Week 2 matchup between Indianapolis and Jacksonville at TIAA Bank Field.

But Blankenship still got to visit Northern Florida in September. ESPN’s Field Yates reported on September 27 that the Jaguars hosted Blankenship for a workout.

It was Blankenship’s first workout with an NFL team since the Colts waived him after Week 1.


Blankenship’s Struggles at the End of Tenure With Colts

The former sensational college kicker from Georgia started his NFL career with a bang. He made 30 out of 33 field goals and went 41-for-43 on extra points in his first 15 NFL games during the 2020 season.

But he’s been in decline ever since then. Blankenship ended the 2020 season making only 3 of his last 6 field-goal tries. That includes his miss of a 33-yard field goal in a 3-point loss to the Buffalo Bills in the AFC Wild Card round.

In 2021, he made 11 out 14 field goals before landing on injured reserve because of a hip injury.

One could easily blame some of those 2021 misses on his hip ailment, but then to begin this season, Blankenship couldn’t hit a 42-yard field goal in overtime to lift the Colts to a win. Instead, Indianapolis settled for a 20-20 tie.

Furthermore, Blankenship knocked 2 kickoffs late in Week 1 out of bounds, which allowed the Houston Texans to start important possessions from the 40-yard line.

Including the postseason, Blankenship made 16 out of 23 field-goal tries (69.6%) in his last 8 games with the Colts. That simply wasn’t good enough for the kicker to keep the trust of Colts head coach Frank Reich.

His replacement, Chase McLaughlin, is 2-for-2 on both field goal and extra-point tries in 2 games since the Colts cut Blankenship. McLaughlin made a 51-yard attempt in the 20-17 victory against the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 3.


Why are the Jaguars Potentially Interested in Blankenship?

As much as Blankenship has struggled lately, eventually, he’ll likely find another job. The kind of slump Blankenship is in happens to NFL kickers quite regularly — even the best of them.

It’s a little bit surprising, though, that the Jaguars are the first team that has expressed interest in Blankenship.

Jacksonville current kicker Riley Patterson missed a 37-yard field goal in Week 1, but he’s made 6 straight tries since then.

During Week 2, he made a career-long 52-yard field goal versus the Colts. Then in Week 3 against the Los Angeles Chargers, Patterson went 3-for-3 on both field goals and extra-point attempts.

But apparently, the Jaguars are still seeing what else is out there at kicker. Yates reported that not only did Jacksonville work out Blankenship, but also Sam Ficken, who hasn’t kicked in an NFL regular season game since 2020.

In 4 seasons, Ficken owns a 72.9% field-goal percentage over 28 games. He posted a career-best 86.7% field-goal percentage, going 13-for-15, with the New York Jets during 2020.

In a smaller sample, Patterson has made 90.9% of his field goals in 10 games during his career.

Blankenship has hit on 83.3% of his field goals in 22 NFL games. But he doesn’t have the strongest leg. Blankenship is 1-for-4 on field goals from beyond 49 yards and has recorded just a 63.3% touchback percentage on kickoffs in his career.

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