Indianapolis—The Colts have reached a conclusion regarding their next move.
A source has confirmed to IndyStar that the Indianapolis Colts are releasing kicker Rodrigo Blankenship after the third-year kicker missed a game-winning attempt from 42 yards on Sunday and sent two kickoffs out of bounds in crucial moments, which cost the Colts valuable field position and ultimately led to the team’s loss. The move was initially reported by the NFL Network.
Chase McLaughlin and Lucas Havrisik were both added to the Colts’ practise squad so that they could compete for the opportunity to take his place.
Blankenship had beaten out Jake Verity to start the season with the starting job for the third consecutive year. Blankenship began his Colts career with a promising rookie year, but then he suffered a hip injury and missed three kicks against Baltimore last season. As a result, Indianapolis decided to leave Blankenship on injured reserve even after he got healthy. Blankenship started his Colts career with a promising rookie year.
Colts head coach Frank Reich indicated a move might be coming on Monday, stopping short of saying he still had unshakable confidence in Blankenship.
“If you play long enough, you’re going to have a bad day, or bad days. Your confidence is going to waver. It’s how you respond to that, and it’s everybody, there’s no exception,” Reich said. “Obviously, as we evaluate that and how we feel about it, you consider all those things, and then it’s a question of hey, guy had a bad day, can he bounce back? Do we have the patience for a guy to bounce back? Those are the things you think through and talk through.”
Reich and general manager Chris Ballard met twice Monday.
On Tuesday, the Colts held tryouts for seven different kickers, including former Colts replacements Michael Badgley and Chase McLaughlin, former Jaguars kickers Josh Lambo and Matthew Wright, former Saints fill-in Brian Johnson, undrafted rookie Lucas Havrisik, and USFL kicker Austin Jones. Blankenship is being released from his contract as a result of the Colts’ decision.
The Colts had enough faith in Blankenship to give him multiple opportunities over the course of three seasons.
“Rod has been pretty consistent to this point,” special teams coordinator Bubba Ventrone said. “He didn’t have a great performance, obviously, in the game. He mishit two balls on kickoffs, and then the miss at the end of the game. I think Rod is a good kicker.”
However, by the time Blankenship’s rookie season came to a conclusion, consistency had been a concern.
Blankenship was successful with 30 of his first 33 attempts in the NFL; however, he failed to make two field goals in the final game of his rookie season and then missed a crucial field goal try from 33 yards out in the playoff game against Buffalo. Blankenship had a hip injury while playing against Baltimore, which caused him to miss three kicks against the Ravens. As a result of the injury, he was placed on injured reserve and never played for the team again.
Even after Blankenship’s return, the Indianapolis Colts continued to use Badgley as their kicker, which is an indicator that the team had concerns about the rookie kicker. Blankenship had trouble making shots from long range throughout his career, converting just three of eight attempts from 46 yards or more over the course of three seasons.
The 45 had an inconsistent consistency throughout.
Since the end of the regular season, Blankenship has successfully kicked 16 of 23 field goals, which is a success rate of 69.5 percent. His most recent miss occurred on a 42-yard try with a victory over Houston on the line this past weekend.
“It didn’t feel great coming off my foot,” Blankenship said. “I just didn’t make contact how I wanted to. I didn’t really hit the ball square and had kind of a lazy follow-through.”
An afterthought that became a significant worry when punter and kickoff specialist Rigoberto Sanchez tore his Achilles tendon during training camp was Blankenship’s two mishandled kickoffs. These kickoffs were made by Blankenship.
Matt Haack, the punter the Colts signed to step in for Sanchez, is not a kickoff specialist, and the kickoff game is where Indianapolis needs to improve its consistency the most.
“It’s a luxury to have a punter who kicks off and kicks off as well as Rigo,” Ventrone said. “Back to Rod and his development on kickoffs, he has done a pretty good job. … We’ve done a good job of getting his kickoffs to a level where we were comfortable playing him in a game like that.”
However, Blankenship did not perform well in either of his tasks on Sunday, when the Colts needed it the most, so the organisation chose to make a change.
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Frequently Asked Questions on Rodrigo Blankenship
Q. Why is Rodrigo Blankenship not playing?
Ans: Blankenship made the PFWA’s All-Rookie team back in 2020 after a season where he drilled 86.5% of his field goals (32 of 37). However, Blankenship would miss most of the 2021 season after injuring his hip early in the year.
Q. Why did the Colts waive Blankenship?
Ans: Blankenship was waived by the team on Tuesday, two days after he missed what would have been a game-winning field goal in Houston. Instead, the Colts settled for a 20-20 tie with the Texans after erasing a 17-point deficit to force overtime in the season opener.
Q. How much does Rodrigo Blankenship get paid?
Year – 2022
Q. Who is the Colts new kicker?
Ans: The Indianapolis Colts are signing kickers Chase McLaughlin and Lucas Havrisik to the practice squad, first reported by Tom Pelissero of NFL Network. It was reported earlier Tuesday that the Colts were waiving kicker Rodrigo Blankenship following his erratic performance against the Houston Texans in Week 1.
Q. Is Rodrigo Blankenship still with the Colts?
Ans: The Indianapolis Colts are moving on from Rodrigo Blankenship one game into the 2022 season. NFL Network Insider Tom Pelissero reported Tuesday that the Colts are waiving the 25-year-old kicker who joined the club in 2020, per a source informed of the decision. The team has since announced the news.
Q. What team does Rodrigo Blankenship play for?
Ans: Impact Blankenship operated as the Colts‘ placekicker to start 2021, but he played just five games before being placed on IR with a hip injury, which ultimately ended his season.