Are the Indianapolis Colts' kicking woes just beginning?

The Colts had doubts about Rodrigo Blankenship (3), but they stuck with him, until he missed a game-winner in Sunday's tie with the Texans. Now Indy has two kickers on its practice squad, and it's hoping one will be the answer. AP Photo/David J. Phillip

INDIANAPOLIS – Lucas Havrisik had just left Sunday service when the call came. Chase McLaughlin was in Kansas City auditioning with the Chiefs when word arrived.

For each player, the reaction was the same when approached by the Indianapolis Colts to attend a tryout to become the team’s next place-kicker. They jumped at the opportunity to participate in the Tuesday morning workout.

But, in the end, the Colts opted for an unconventional solution that, arguably, isn’t an answer at all. Havrisik and McLaughlin were signed to the Colts’ practice squad on Tuesday after the team waived Rodrigo Blankenship, who missed a game-winning field goal attempt Sunday in Houston. The Colts settled for a 20-20 tie with the Texans after the miss with 2 minutes remaining in overtime.

What we’re left with is a suboptimal situation. The Colts are effectively holding an in-season kicking competition. Indianapolis is expected to promote one of the new kickers to the active roster to handle kicking duties during Sunday’s road game against the Jacksonville Jaguars (1 p.m. ET, CBS).

If you’re wondering why the Colts are in this difficult position, it’s largely a problem of their own making. Somehow, a team renowned for turning over every stone in search of gems to fill the bottom of its roster managed to bungle one of the most important positions on the team.

The Colts may have averted this problem by either bringing in better competition for Blankenship during training camp, or perhaps drafting a kicker. The Cincinnati Bengals drafted Evan McPherson in the fifth round last year and he helped the Bengals reach the Super Bowl. The Colts haven’t drafted a kicker since Dave Rayner in 2005.

The Colts’ doubts about Blankenship were apparent long ago when he remained on injured reserve last season even after recovering from an early-season hip injury. The Colts instead stayed with Michael Badgley for the balance of the season. And when the team did bring in offseason competition for Blankenship, it was Jake Verity -- a player who had never converted a regular-season kick and lost the position battle after a rough month of training camp.

Now, after the Colts’ worst fears about Blankenship were realized in the season’s very first game, they face the prospect of spending the foreseeable future with an unstable kicking situation. The reluctance to commit to either Havrisik or McLaughlin suggests the team isn’t sure about either being a season-long solution.

“It’s a situation that’s completely up to the front office,” McLaughlin said. “Whatever is best for the organization, that’s what they’re gonna do. I’m just going to take it as if I’m the guy.”

Said Havrisik: “You can’t get twisted in the kicker psyche that everyone talks about. But it’s hard, because you want to be perfect, but you might struggle here and there. It’s all in your head. You just have to stay confident up there. And when you do struggle, bouncing back is everything.”

For the kickers, this latest twist in their respective paths has been met with a shrug. Journeymen kickers are quite used to the challenges that come with the nomadic lifestyle.

McLaughlin said he’s spent time on 10 different teams in his four years. This is actually his second stint with the Colts after kicking for Indianapolis for part of the 2019 season.

“It’s part of the job,” said McLaughlin, who has converted 75.5% of his attempts in his career. “Hopefully I can change that and make this a home.”

Havrisik participated in the Colts’ rookie minicamp in May, but the invitation to training camp he thought might be forthcoming never materialized. He recently moved from his native Riverside, California to Tucson, Arizona, where he played at the University of Arizona. His original plan: To get a job -- money’s been tight -- to make ends meet while working on his kicking on campus.

The rookie finished his career at Arizona with a shaky 64.2% accuracy mark on field goals. On the other hand, he twice connected on 57-yard field goals, establishing a school record.

Meanwhile, the Colts are hoping the solution to their issue is currently in their locker room. If it’s not, look for the kicking situation to be a recurring storyline in this season of high hopes.

“Sometimes in this business you just need to make a change of what you think is best,” coach Frank Reich said. “It was a tough decision but one we thought we had to make.”

The Colts can only hope it’s the last kicking change they’ll be forced to make.