INDIANAPOLIS – The Indianapolis Colts moved quickly to address their unreliable kicking situation.
The team waived Rodrigo Blankenship Tuesday, according to a source with knowledge of the situation. The transaction was first reported by NFL Network.
The decision comes two days after Blankenship missed what would have been a game-winning 42-yard field goal in overtime at Houston that resulted in the Colts settling for a 20-20 tie with the Texans. Blankenship also knocked two kickoffs out of bounds, including one to open overtime.
After the game, coach Frank Reich stood behind his kicker.
“In my mind,’’ he said, “he’s our kicker.’’
That support seemed to wane Monday.
“Everybody gets evaluated at every position,’’ Reich said. “Then what are we going to do? Are we going to bring people in? Going to stay pat?’’
The Colts signed kickers Chase McLaughlin and rookie Luke Havrisik to the practice squad with the intention of elevating one to the active roster for Sunday’s game at Jacksonville.
Indianapolis is familiar with both.
In 2019, McLaughlin was brought in to replace Adam Vinatieri for the final four games after Vinatieri was placed on the injured reserve list with a knee injury. McLaughlin converted 5-of-6 field-goal attempts, with a long of 50, and all 11 of his PATs.
McLaughlin then lost a training camp competition the next summer to Blankenship.
Havrisik participated in the Colts’ rookie mini-camp on a tryout basis in the spring after spending five seasons as a kickoff specialist and long-distance kicker at the University of Arizona.
Havrisik converted 34-of-52 field-goal attempts (65.4%), including 7-of-14 on attempts of at least 50 yards. He twice knocked down school-record 57-yarders. On kickoffs, he generated touchbacks on nearly 74% of his 311 attempts.
As it turned out, Blankenship’s 42-yard attempt at Houston was one miss too many for him to survive.
It’s worth noting he also missed a game-winning attempt in his previous game, although there were extenuating circumstances.
In the Colts’ 31-25 overtime loss at Baltimore in week 5 last season, Blankenship missed a 47-yard field goal attempt on the final play of regulation. He also had a 37-yard attempt blocked and missed a PAT.
Blankenship kicked that game after suffering a hip injury during pre-game warm-ups. The team brought in Michael Badgley to replace him, and Badgley remained the Colts’ kicker even though Blankenship was healthy enough to return four or five weeks after the injury.
Blankenship’s body of work simply wasn’t good enough for the Colts. He converted 46-of-56 field-goal attempts (82.1%), including the playoffs.
Monday, Reich made it clear the team had to decide whether it could show patience with Blankenship.
“No matter who you are, if you play long enough, you’re going to have a bad day, or bad days, and your confidence is going to waver,’’ he said. “It’s how you respond to that.
“It’s a question of, ‘Hey, guy had a bad day. Can he bounce back? Do we have patience for a guy to bounce back?’ Those are all the things that you think through and talk through.’’
You can follow Mike Chappell on Twitter at @mchappell51.