The real MVP for the LA Rams? Look no further than Greg Zuerlein.
The kicker, you may be asking? The kicker?
Hear me out. The Los Angeles Rams are one of the NFL’s most high powered offenses. Going from dead last a year ago to top three in every team scoring category as of this writing.
So why should a guy who has only one job, never passes, runs, blocks or tackles be considered a most valuable player? When they call you “Automatic Greg,” you deserve some recognition.
Currently, Zuerlein leads the NFL in field goal attempts and makes, while also being automatic on points after touchdown tries.
Combined, Zuerlein has made 65 of 67 of all kicks attempted, hence his nickname. For such a high-scoring team having a kicker this good puts a lot of pressure on defenses because once the Rams pass midfield they only need a few yards to get into scoring position.
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Zuerlein’s impact is directly reflected on the Rams scoring not only in volume but also in efficiency. According to Football Outsider , the Rams lead the league in average field goals per drive at .255.
That means nearly 26 percent of the time Zuerlein is being asked to come into the game to put his team on the board, and he’s succeeding.
It’s not just the rate that Zuerlein makes his kick but also the distance, this year Zuerlein is 16 of 17 from 40 yards plus including 5 makes from farther than 50 yards. His only miss was a 63 yard miss in Sunday’s game against the Saints.
Had he made it, it would have been just the third make of that distance outside of the mile high altitude of Denver, Colorado in NFL history.
Effectively, Zuerlein can be counted to cut the field in half for an offense that boasts weapons such as Jared Goff and Todd Gurley. Even if the high octane offense falters, Zuerlein’s leg can be counted on to boost the offense even when it’s not running at it’s best.
If his efficiency and the cannon of a leg doesn’t convince you of Zuerlein’s value then consider how he may have single-handedly won at least three games this year alone. On October 1st on the road in Dallas against the Cowboys, Zuerlein kicked seven field goals including four in the second half to provide the winning 35-30 margin.
In Sunday’s game against the Saints the stout Rams defense was rewarded for their efforts as Zuerlein kicked three second half field goals including two in the fourth quarter providing the winning margin of a 26-20 game.
In the history of the NFL only one kicker has ever won a MVP award Mark Moseley in 1982. Zeurlein isn’t going to win it this year, but he still deserves to be recognized for the turnaround season the Rams are having.
Consider this — if the Rams find themselves in a tight regular season game or a playoff game, if we asked the Rams who they wanted taking a crucial kick I’m sure they’d all vote for “Automatic Greg.”