Indianapolis Colts cut kicker Rodrigo Blankenship after Week 1 struggles

INDIANAPOLIS -- The Colts waived kicker Rodrigo Blankenship on Tuesday, two days after his ongoing struggles culminated in a missed would-be 42-yard game-winning field goal in the season opener.

The Colts did not immediately fill the kicker spot on their active roster, instead signing kickers Chase McLaughlin and Lucas Havrisik to their practice squad.

The Colts likely will promote one of the new kickers to the active roster before their Week 2 game against the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday.

The Colts filled Blankenship's spot on the 53-man roster by signing cornerback Tony Brown from their practice squad.

A former college standout at Georgia, Blankenship had a rough day in Week 1. He shanked two consecutive kickoffs out of bounds late in the game, giving the Houston Texans possession at the 40-yard line in each instance. His issues were then compounded by the 42-yard miss in overtime, when he sent the kick shockingly wide to the right. The Colts had to settle for a 20-20 tie.

Blankenship converted 45 of 54 (83.3%) of his field goal attempts in his two-plus seasons, along with 52 of 55 extra point attempts (94.5%). Blankenship converted just one of four attempts from 50 yards or longer in his stint with Indianapolis.

The Colts displayed a lack of faith in him last season after he sustained a hip injury against the Baltimore Ravens in Week 5, an issue that was not considered season-ending. But instead of returning him to the lineup after his recovery, the Colts allowed his fill-in, Michael Badgley, to finish the season. Blankenship never made another attempt last season.

Colts coach Frank Reich was asked Monday whether Blankenship had a confidence issue.

"Your confidence is going to waver," he said. "It's how you respond to that. ... To me, there's no exceptions to that. The greatest players in the world, their confidence wavers. So, obviously as we evaluate that and how we feel about it, you consider all those things and then it's a question of, hey, a guy had a bad day. Can he bounce back? Do we have the patience for a guy to bounce back?

"Those are the things you think through and talk through."

The Colts took a decidedly different approach to their kicking issues this season than they did during Adam Vinatieri's epic struggles in 2019. Vinatieri, who was dealing with a knee injury, saw his performance fall apart with a career-low 68% conversion rate on field goals. But the Colts stuck with him until Week 13 despite his issues originating in Week 2.