Rams' Zuerlein can't wait for Sunday

Rams' Zuerlein can't wait for Sunday

ST. LOUIS (AP) Sunday afternoon can't come soon enough for St. Louis kicker Greg Zuerlein.

The rookie made his first 15 field goal attempts this season, including a franchise-record 60-yarder, before missing three in a row last Sunday in a 17-14 loss at Miami.

Zuerlein, who failed to connect from 37, 52 and 66 yards, took blame for the defeat, saying that he simply, ``didn't do my job and it cost us the game.''

The week has gone by slowly for the high-energy Zuerlein, who can't wait to redeem himself against the Green Bay Packers.

``You try and put it behind you and forget about it,'' Zuerlein said. ``Or else it might harm you in the future. You really want to get back on the field as quick as you can. You want to show everyone that you can bounce back.''

The hottest kicker in the NFL has no reason to sulk. His string of 15 in a row to start his career fell one shy of the NFL record set by Garrett Hartley of New Orleans in 2008-09.

Zuerlein even makes noise when he fails. He had the distance, but missed wide left on what would have been a league-record 66-yarder as time expired against the Dolphins. Zuerlein's kick hit the net guarding the playing field, clearing the end line by at least 5 yards.

``I really thought I could make that kick,'' he said. ``All of those kicks were makeable. I just didn't do it.''

Zuerlein was drafted in the sixth round after a stellar career at the Nebraska-Omaha and Missouri Western. He hit 21 in a row his senior year at Missouri Western, including nine from 50 yards or farther.

The Omaha native came out firing this season. He set a Soldier Field record with a 56-yarder in a 23-6 loss to Chicago on Sept. 22. A week later, he went 4 for 4 and twice set a franchise record for longest field goal with kicks of 58 and 60 yards in a 19-13 win over Seattle. He became the first NFL player to hit on attempts of 50-plus and 60 yards in the same game.

Still, he remains haunted by the failures against Miami.

``You never totally get over it,'' Zuerlein said. ``When you are sure that you can make those kicks and you don't, it's not a good feeling.''

Zuerlein, now 15 for 18, says he was ready to make amends for the misses seconds after Sunday's contest ended. He has had a good week in practice and is champing at the bit.

St. Louis coach Jeff Fisher likes that Zuerlein has such high standards.

``He's taken responsibility for it, but he's not taking it hard,'' Fisher said.

The 24-year-old has excelled in all facets of the kicking game. Of his 29 kickoffs, 17 have been touchbacks.

Zuerlein says he made a 74-yarder in practice during college. He has his sights set on the NFL record of 63 held by Tom Dempsey, Jason Elam, Sebastian Janikowski and David Akers.

``I knew I could kick in this league,'' Zuerlein said. ``It was just a matter of getting the opportunity.''


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NHL Power Rankings: The home stretch

USA Today Sports

NHL Power Rankings: The home stretch

We are down to the home stretch. Only 10 games remain in the Capitals' regular season. Those 10 games will ultimately decide if the Caps finish in first place in the Metropolitan Division and who they will play in the first round of the playoffs.

Washington currently sits in first place in the division, two points ahead of the Pittsburgh Penguins and four points ahead of the Philadelphia Flyers. Of those 10 remaining games, only three come against teams currently in playoff position. The most critical of these comes on April 1 when the Caps travel to Pittsburgh in a game that could ultimately decide the division.

The Caps still hold a narrow lead in the standings, but where do they stand in the rankings? See this week's updated NHL Power Rankings here.

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Need to Know: Looking at the Redskins' offensive depth chart after early phase of free agency

Associated Press

Need to Know: Looking at the Redskins' offensive depth chart after early phase of free agency

Here is what you need to know on this Monday, March 19, 38 days before the NFL draft.  

Free agency notes and nuggets

Looking at the 2018 depth chart—offense

The Redskins are likely to make a few more free agent acquisitions and there is the draft, but the depth chart is beginning to settle in. Let’s take a look at where the offensive side of the ball stands now. The defense is up tomorrow

Quarterback: Alex Smith
Backups: Colt McCoy

The only question here is if the Redskins will draft a late-round project quarterback to develop as the backup. McCoy is in the last year of his contract and he may not be back in 2019.

Running back: Samaje Perine
Backups: Chris Thompson, Rob Kelley, draft pick

This is an area to watch. Thompson could end up being the only carryover if they get a draft pick who can start and decide to keep 2017 late-season addition Kapri Bibbs or if they find another veteran. They also could go with only three running backs.

Wide receivers: Josh Doctson, Paul Richardson, Jamison Crowder
Backups: Maurice Harris, Robert Davis, Brian Quick

They may not carry six, so Harris, Davis, and Quick might battle it out for two spots. It’s possible that they will put a draft pick into the mix as well.

MORE REDSKINS: The Redskins week that was

Tight end: Jordan Reed
Backups: Vernon Davis, Jeremy Sprinkle

As of right now, this appears to be one of the few position groups you can write in with a Sharpie. If the Redskins are going to be better in 2018, a lot of the improvement will have to come from improvement of 2017 draft picks like Sprinkle. If he can develop into a solid blocker and a moderate receiving threat he will be an asset.

Offensive line: LT Trent Williams, LG Arie Kouandjio, C Chase Roullier RG Brandon Scherff, RT Morgan Moses
Backups: T Ty Nsekhe, G/T Tyler Catalina, G Kyle Kalis, T T.J. Clemmings

Kouandjio is a placeholder at left guard for the moment. He was solid pass blocking but struggled in run blocking in six starts in injury fill-in duty. I think that if they bring in another interior O-lineman in free agency or in the draft, Roullier will remain at center. I think Jay Gruden likes the way he is developing there and wants to continue.

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page and follow him on Twitter @TandlerNBCS.

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Days until:

—Offseason workouts begin (4/16) 28
—Training camp starts (approx. 7/26) 130
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 174

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