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Oklahoma State Football

Early Surprise from NFL Training Camps, Brown Kicking for the Rams

July 29, 2023
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STILLWATER – As Oklahoma State prepares to start fall camp with the players reporting on Tuesday, Aug. 1 and practice set to begin on Wednesday, Aug. 2 the kicking job left open by the departure of Lou Groza Award semifinalist Tanner Brown looks like it could go to veteran and past starter Alex Hale, last year’s punter late in the season Logan Ward, or perhaps transfer Thomas Murray. As for Brown, it lookss like he will keep on kicking as well. He landed in Los Angeles with the Rams and has made himself at home. 

Rams kicker from last season Matt Gay left in free agency. In training camp so far the former Oklahoma State Cowboys kicker Tanner Brown remains the only kicker in the Rams camp. He was signed as an undrafted free agent and he is convincing the Rams coaches he is their guy,

The Rams released fellow rookie Christopher Dunn after minicamp, but there’s still a long way to go, too. New special teams coordinator Chase Blackburn has been impressed by Brown.

“He didn’t miss a lot of kicks, I can tell you that,” Blackburn said. “He hit the ball clean, has a really strong leg.”

Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports
Tanner Brown at OSU.

Brown has a strong leg but at Oklahoma State his longest kicks were 52-yards last season and several just short of 50-yards. He is extremely accurate. He was 22-of-23 overall last season and made four-of-his last five the season before to leave college on a 26-for-27 run.

Blackburn said he prefers accuracy over distance, but he wants both. You know the cake and the icing all together.

“Put points on the board,” Blackburn said. “We have a great offense, right? We have a great defense that we can trust if we pin them deep. If we can make them inside a 50 with a great accuracy, we’ll be good. Obviously, there’s situations where a longer field goal is going to come up, but we’re going to need it to end the half in the game. That’s going to be critical. But I’d take accuracy every time.”

Los Angeles Rams
Jason Taylor II of the Rams.

Meanwhile, the Rams did draft a Cowboy in ball hawking safety Jason Taylor II. Taylor is getting plenty of competition to make the team from three undrafted free agent safeties the Rams signed. The two that have stood out the most are Tanner Ingle and Rashad Torrence. Torrence made a play of the day in camp the other day when he picked off former Boise State quarterback Brett Rypien, a quarterback that Taylor II picked off in college. 

Finally, the other Cowboys player drafted in April was defensive lineman Tyler Lacy by Jacksonville. Lacy had a great spring and summer with the Jaguars, but his training camp has been quiet so far. Rookies need to make noise in training camp. 

Kirthmon F. Dozier Detroit Free Press
Rodriguez (44) walks off the Lions practice field  with Alex Anzalone (34) and another Lions linebacker.

The loudest noisemaker last season in possibly any training camp, at least a rooke was Malcolm Rodriguez with Detroit. The Lions were on HBO’s Hardknocks and Rodriguez became a star. He was making hits and plays all over the field. Rodriguez’ second camp is a little different.

“Less cameras,” Rodriguez said two days ago.

He is also getting less snaps. Last season he took over 50 percent of the defensive snaps and started 13 games. This camp Devin Barnes and Alez Anzalone have been the starters most of the time and rookie linebacker Jack Campbell of Iowa is breathing down Rodriguez on the depth chart. Competition doesn’t bother Rodriguez. Just wait. He will get his spot on the defense because results win out over expectations.  

 

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Early Surprise from NFL Training Camps, Brown Kicking for the Rams

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