There seems to be a very disturbing pattern when it comes to the Miami Dolphins kicker position, and that's the fact that Caleb Sturgis always seems to be injured. That pattern is now continuing as Sturgis has suffered an injury to his quadriceps that will keep him out of practices until at least training camp in late July.
Sturgis, a former fifth-round draft pick out of the University of Florida, was drafted to take over for kicker Dan Carpenter, who is now kicking (quite well ironically enough) for the Buffalo Bills. In his rookie year, Sturgis was perfect and was quickly winning the fanbase over with his ability to make tough kicks.
But then in week 5 of 2013, Sturgis was forced to try and kick a 55-yard field goal against the Ravens to try and tie the game. He missed that kick, and since then, the former Florida Gator has been struggling mightily to make kicks and has become the exact kind of kicker that prompted the Dolphins to move on from Dan Carpenter in the first place, presumably because of injuries.
With Sturgis sidelined yet again, Andrew Franks of Rensselaer Polytechnic, an undrafted free agent, will have a chance to prove himself to the coaching staff.
“He’s one of those guys that could’ve played Division-I but chose to go to RPI because of the engineering program,” Dolphins special teams coach Darren Rizzi said of Franks. “It enabled him to be a four-year starter where he was. We laugh about it. The goal posts are the same size, the same height. Certainly the pressure’s different. The atmosphere’s different. But he’s a talented player and he could’ve definitely kicked at a higher level.”
Franks will have the chance to prove he can kick at a higher level now that Sturgis is sidelined once again with an injury, and once he returns, Sturgis will have to make a very good showing to prove that he is still worth keeping around in spite of the fact that he always seems injured.
If Sturgis and Franks both fail to prove they are worthy NFL kickers, especially since PATs are no longer going to be easy kicks, possible veteran free agents the Dolphins could sign are former New Orleans Saints kicker Shayne Graham, or former Cardinals kicker Jay Feely, who actually spent 2007 with the Dolphins.
Last season, Sturgis made 78.4 percent of his field goal attempts, which had him ranked 28th out of 31 kickers in the NFL. From more than 40 yards out, Sturgis only made 9 out of 16 attempts. If Sturgis intends to keep his job, he will need to quickly get healthy and show that he can still make the tough kicks, just like he was able to before the Ravens game back in 2013.
This story was written by Luis Sung. Follow him on Twitter: @FLSportDebater