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Indianapolis Colts fans should be rooting for kicker Jake Verity to shine in training camp

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Credit: USA Today Network

The Indianapolis Colts are hosting another competition for the team’s placekicker and incumbent Rodrigo “Hot Rod” Blankenship is having to prove himself once again.

Last season he was competing against Eddie Pinero. The season prior to that he was up against Chase McLaughlin. To date, he’s 2-0 in these competitions. So, clearly, he rises to the moment and comes through in the clutch. Then why do the Colts continue to ask him to prove himself over and over again?

Related: Indianapolis Colts schedule: Preseason opener @ Bills, 2022 predictions

Explaining why the Indianapolis Colts keep putting Rodrigo Blankenship in camp competitions

Well, the problem is “Hot Rod” doesn’t have a strong leg. And unfortunately, last season was easily the worst of his career. Plus, he was also hurt, which didn’t help.

  • 2021 – 11/14 FG 78.6%
  • Career – 43/51 FG 84.3%
  • 2021 – 7/8 XP 87.5%
  • Career – 50/53 XP 94.3%

More specifically, he was 6/7 on field goals of 40 yards or more last season and for his career, he’s 15/21 or 71% on long-distance kicks. For comparison, last season NFL kickers averaged 73.4% on kicks from 40+ yards. Blankenship finished 33rd in field goals made last season.

Michael Badgley who took over the kicking duties after Blankenship was injured finished 26th. Coincidently Badgley finished 26th in FG%. Whereas Blankenship came in 29th. Then add in the painful memory of last season’s loss to Baltimore — you know, where Blankenship hurt himself pregame, struggled, and then missed a game-winner. You can then understand why the Colts are still not completely sold on him as their starting kicker.

Since 2019 the Colts have had one of the worst kicking games in the NFL. To be specific they rank as the 6th worst in the league at successfully connecting on 81% of their kicks. So, this brings us to the new challenger. Undrafted free agent Jake Verity.

Jake Verity would be a serious upgrade over Blankenship

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Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Verity spent last season shadowing and being mentored by Justin Tucker. Tucker is currently the best in the business and is making a run at former Colt Adam Vinatieri as being the best of all time. Verity comes with a reputation of having a “big leg” and getting an endorsement from Tucker. Tucker said he’d be shocked if Verity wasn’t on a Week 1 NFL roster.

Search Twitter and you can easily find a video of him kicking and making from 66-yards. Blankenship’s career long is 53, or 13-yards less. So Verity comes with the bigger leg. Having a player who is an automatic three points once the team crosses mid-field is a nice advantage. Just think how this can alleviate some of Frank Reich’s play-calling stress. 

Knowing that he just needs his team to cross the 50-yard line and they have three points secured. Odds are he may not be so aggressive on going for it on fourth down. Now, the camp battle has been a bit of a standoff. Neither kicker is making a strong case for the job. Both have missed a few kicks. And both have made a few kicks from at least 50-yards.

It goes without saying that the rest of training camp and preseason play will determine who wins the starting kicking job. Just one more reason to root for Verity. The last kicker who followed the Tucker tutelage is Will Lutz. Lutz is an 86.6% FG and 97.3% XP kicker for his career.

I have no idea if Verity will be like Lutz or Tucker. Regardless, being a member of the Tucker kicking tree is something fans should much rather have on the team than what they have dealt with thus far.

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