Rams release rookie kicker Samuel Sloman
None of the Rams games this season have been decided by a missed field goal or an extra-point attempt or by an opponent’s kickoff return.
But Sean McVay is not taking any chances moving forward.
On Tuesday, a day after Samuel Sloman had another kick blocked, the Rams released the rookie and elevated Kai Forbath to the starting job.
The Rams (5-2) play the Miami Dolphins (3-3) on Sunday in Miami.
“He’s pretty accurate from inside the 50-yard range and he’s got experience, and I think that’s really important — the game’s not too big for him,” McVay said of Forbath, a ninth-year pro, during a videoconference with reporters. “And I think he’ll bring some stability to that spot and hopefully some more consistent production that we haven’t had this year.”
Sloman, a seventh-round draft pick from Miami Ohio, made eight of 11 field-goal attempts and 18 of 21 extra-point attempts. But the low trajectory of his kicks led to blocks that tried McVay’s patience.
Rams punter Johnny Hekker dropped five punts deep in Chicago Bears territory, becoming a defensive weapon in a 24-10 victory Monday night.
Sloman kicked a 22-yard field goal in the Rams’ 24-10 victory over the Chicago Bears on Monday night, but a 48-yard field-goal attempt was blocked. He also had extra-point attempts blocked against the Philadelphia Eagles and San Francisco 49ers.
Sloman also struggled for consistency on kickoffs. He failed to execute a planned shorter kickoff near the end of the loss to the 49ers. Against the Bears, only one of his five kickoffs went out of the end zone for touchbacks.
“I always think it’s a tough situation as a rookie to come in and have some of the pressure that kicking position entails,” McVay said, adding, “In a lot of instances you kind of go through some things and then you end up getting a chance down the road. And that’s the hope I have for Sam.”
Sloman had made the roster by winning a training-camp competition against Canadian Football League veteran Lirim Hajrullahu and Austin MacGinnis, who played in the Alliance of American Football and the XFL.
The Rams on Tuesday signed MacGinnis to the practice squad.
The Rams had been “in tune with” the low trajectory of Sloman’s kicks, which was below the average, McVay said. The trajectory on MacGinnis’ kicks is significantly higher, McVay said.
The Rams last week signed Forbath from the Bears’ practice squad. But because of COVID-19 protocols he did not join the team until Sunday, which did not give him time to work with long-snapper Jake McQuaide and holder Johnny Hekker.
Forbath played at Sherman Oaks Notre Dame High and UCLA and has played for six other NFL teams. In 2019, after being released by the New England Patriots, he made 10 of 10 field-goal attempts for the Dallas Cowboys, including three against the Rams.
The Cowboys signed former Rams kicker Greg Zuerlein to a free-agent contract and released Forbath before training camp.
Sloman’s release is one of several roster moves the Rams could make this week.
Rookie safety Terrell Burgess suffered a broken ankle against the Bears. The third-round draft pick from Utah will have season-ending surgery Wednesday, McVay said.
A look at the Rams’ 24-10 victory over the Chicago Bears by the numbers.
“It’s a shame because he was doing so well in both phases — special teams and defense — but he’s got a really bright future,” McVay said.
Defensive lineman A’Shawn Robinson, who came off the noninjury football list and practiced last week, could play against the Dolphins,” McVay said.
“The plan is to get A’Shawn up this week and then what we do with that remaining [roster] spot is kind of to be determined based on how the week unfolds,” McVay said.
The Rams are still planning to activate safety Jordan Fuller after the week off that follows the Miami game. Fuller has been on the injured list because of a shoulder injury he suffered against the Buffalo Bills and aggravated against Washington.
McVay said he was hopeful that tight end Tyler Higbee would return after sitting out against the Bears because of a hand injury. ... Rookie running back Cam Akers, who was in for one snap against the 49ers, played only three snaps against the Bears. Darrell Henderson rushed for 64 yards in 15 carries, and Malcolm Brown rushed for 57 yards and a touchdown in 10 carries. “When you have three backs that are healthy, sometimes it’s just hard to get those guys in,” McVay said. “I think Cam has a bright future but those guys did a nice job. It felt like the game was kind of going through them, especially in the run game. It’s nothing that Cam didn’t do. It’s just more of a reflection of what those two guys did, and sometimes that’s a positive problem.”
Go beyond the scoreboard
Get the latest on L.A.'s teams in the daily Sports Report newsletter.
You may occasionally receive promotional content from the Los Angeles Times.