Titans claim ex-Jet Sam Ficken to address kicking concerns
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Tennessee’s search for a solution to their kicking problems continued Sunday when the Titans claimed Sam Ficken off waivers from the New York Jets and waived undrafted free agent Blake Haubeil.
It’s the latest move in what has been a kicking carousel the Titans the past two seasons.
In 2019, the Titans employed five kickers — Ryan Succop, Cairo Santos, Greg Joseph, Cody Parkey and Ryan Santoso — who combed to make only eight of 18 field-goal attempts. In 2020, veteran Stephen Gostkowski began the season making just 10 of his first 17 attempts before finishing 18 of 26. Gostkowski missed the last game of the regular season due to COVID-19 protocol, allowing Sam Sloman to connect on a winning field – off the upright – that gave the team its first AFC South title since 2008.
Haubeil and Tucker McCann had been competing for the spot in the first four practices,. Haubeil connected on 12 of 15 attempts in front of the team and McCann made 12 of 16. Neither player has kicked in an NFL contest.
Ficken, 28, has spent the past four seasons in the league, making 35 of 48 attempts overall (73 %) and 12 of 22 (55%) from 40 yards or more. He was 13 of 15 for the Jets last season, with both of his misses coming from 50 yards or more. Ficken has had his share of extra-point issues over the years, making 49 of 56 for his career and 12 of 15 for the Jets last season.
Tennessee might not be done making moves at the kicker spot either. The unsigned Gostkowski, a former teammate of Titans coach Mike Vrabel and a Nashville resident, remains a possibility.
“Until he retires, I would imagine that anybody would be a potential (option), but I don’t know,” Vrabel said of Gostkowski at the start of camp.
The Titans have recently hired former University of Tennessee kicker James Wilhoite to coach the kickers. Wilhoite took to social media last season to criticize the team for not having a former kicker on staff.
“I think that anything we can do to help guys to do their job better is what we are going to try and do,” Vrabel said about Wilhoite’s hiring. “We looked at a few guys, thought that he could assist us as we move toward the new season.
“We will do our best and I know we are going to find guys that will make field goals.”
Also on Sunday, the Titans placed tight end Briley Moore, an undrafted agent from Kansas State, on injured reserve. Moore sustained what appeared to be a significant left knee injury after catching a pass during Saturday’s practice. He had to be carted off the field.
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