Jaguars on verge of NFL record with 'crazy' kicking carousel
By MARK LONG
AP Pro Football Writer
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Quarterback Gardner Minshew wouldn’t even try to name every kicker who’s suited up for the Jacksonville Jaguars this season.
He surely would have missed one or two — or more.
The Jaguars (1-4) will set an NFL record by using their fifth kicker in as many games when they host Detroit (1-3) on Sunday. Only four teams have used five or more kickers in a single season, with the Los Angeles Chargers (2017) doing it most recently.
The others: New Orleans (1978) and Washington (1987, 2000). But none of them switched it up as much as Jacksonville has been forced to do because of injuries.
“It’s crazy,” Minshew said. “You hope everybody that comes in can hang for a while, but you know that isn’t always the case.”
It’s been a revolving tee for the Jaguars since Josh Lambo injured his hip in a Week 2 loss at Tennessee. Lambo landed on injured reserve, and Jacksonville turned to rookie Brandon Wright against Miami for Thursday night football. Wright joined a small list of Black placekickers in league history, a group that includes Gene Mingo, Donald Igweibuike, Obed Ariri, Cedric Oglesby and Justin Medlock.
But Wright’s tenure was short-lived. He missed an extra point, injured his groin and was waived four days later.
The Jaguars worked out and signed veteran Steven Hauschka for Week 4. But Hauschka reported soreness in his leg a day later and was unavailable at Cincinnati. Jacksonville called up Aldrick Rosas from the practice squad to fill in. Rosas was cut by the New York Giants after he was charged with three misdemeanors for an alleged high-speed hit-and-run that led to his arrest in June.
Rosas was wide left from 48 yards against the Bengals. He rebounded by making his next four field goals and an extra point, but he injured his hip/groin and was placed on the practice squad injured list.
Hauschka was seemingly healthy enough to take his turn last week at Houston. But he missed two field goals in the final minute of the first half, pulling a 24-yarder wide left and then coming up well short from 49 yards.
The Jaguars cut him Monday.
Now it’s Jon Brown’s turn. A college soccer player turned football kicker, Brown was promoted from the practice squad and will make his NFL debut against the Lions. He will join Wright in the league’s small fraternity of Black kickers.
“I can’t remember anything like this,” coach Doug Marrone said. “I don’t think anyone has been though anything like this as far as the people here. It’s unfortunate. I mean, obviously, you want to be able to do a better job of coming in there when you have an opportunity, but I think there’s a lot that goes into it.
“Unfortunately, a lot of the other players that we’ve had have been injured or have gotten injured, which is crazy in that regard.”
Marrone has been admittedly spoiled with Lambo, who made 74 of 78 field goals (94.9%) and 66 of 71 extra points (93%) since signing with Jacksonville in 2017. Lambo is hoping to return next week at the Chargers.
“We’re ready to have Lambo back,” Minshew said. “He’s awesome.” Until then, Marrone will keep hoping to find a fill-ins who doesn’t miss. “The one thing about that position that I’ve kind of learned through my experience is you can go out there and look good in practice, but I think it’s a whole different ball game when you go out there on a Sunday and then the pressure (gets) involved,” Marrone said. “Being able to go in there and relax yourself and kick and put it through the uprights is more difficult than going in your backyard and just trying to kick a field goal.
“I think there’s a great appreciation for that and I think we’ll see how Jon does because he hasn’t done that before.”
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