Brown Still Booming

Posted Aug 14, 2011

Before coach Steve Spagnuolo could make a decision on what to do with enough time left for one play in the first half of Saturday night’s preseason game against Indianapolis, kicker Josh Brown was already halfway on the field.

It’s no shock that Brown was pushing to kick a field goal in a coin toss field goal/punt situation. What might be surprising is that he wanted to kick it from 60 yards out, a kick he’s never made in a NFL game.

“I don’t think I could have pulled him off the field,” Spagnuolo said. “He was running out there before I even said, “Let’s kick a field goal.” But that’s probably the situation to do it.”

Spagnuolo actually asked Brown whether he wanted to give it a shot as he was already on his way out to kick it.

“He looked at me and (asked) ‘Do you want to kick it?’” Brown said. “Absolutely, why wouldn’t I? Why wouldn’t I want to do this? That’s the thing. He was like ‘I can’t say no when you’re already halfway out there,’ so I kept running.”

In an esteemed eight-year career, Brown has never made a field goal longer than 58 yards and he hadn’t hit one longer than 55 in his time with the Rams.

Still, Brown has a reputation for converting kicks 50 yards and longer. He sits fifth in NFL history with 28 makes from the 50 yards out or further.

But considering that the half was almost over and it was a preseason game with nothing on the line, Brown figured he’d take a shot.

“It’s the preseason, that’s what makes you want to do that,” Brown said. “I mean, we’re indoors, and we had the opportunity. You know, it’s good that the coaches see that I’m still capable of hitting a ball that long. I hit a lot this week over 60. Go figure. It’s not something you practice very often, but we had a “deep day” that we called it, and everything was 50 plus. It pays off to be able to practice that once a week and have that stroke down and have the timing down.”

As the crowd rose to its feet for perhaps the most exciting moment of the night, Brown lined it up and let it go.

“I really remember getting out there, and then the fans really started getting into the moment,” Brown said. “You could really see that the fans were like ‘OK this is going to be fun.’ They wanted to see it. It was a great feeling. It was really cool to have the fans really getting behind you right before because that’s energizing. If they would have been quiet, it just makes you more nervous.”
Indeed, Brown had everything working as he boomed a low line drive that cleared the crossbar with room to spare. Had it been a month later, it’d be a new career high and one of the longest made field goals in league history.

“It’s an exciting play,” Brown said. “If it only counted, you know?”

Maybe it won’t officially count toward his career kicks but it certainly put everyone on alert that Brown is capable of hitting from deep, even distances longer than his career best would indicate.

And it serves notices that Brown is feeling as strong as ever. In addition to the 60-yarder Brown hit three more field goals, including a 53-yarder.

“I feel as good as I have since I was about 25,” Brown said. “I feel really good. I did a lot of hard working out this offseason. I took a different approach and was really focused. I didn’t take a tremendous amount of vacation time. I really feel like I have something to prove. I am getting older but I am not so old that I’m getting out of the game. I still want to prove that I can kick 50-plus yarders. I think I did that tonight. I think I’ve done it in this camp and I really stayed focused for the four or five months we weren’t together. I was really able to come up with a good work ethic this offseason, more than I have in the past. I really feel good.”

INJURY REPORT: The Rams made it through the opener relatively healthy but Spagnuolo said receiver Mike Sims-Walker could miss a little time because of a groin injury suffered early in the game.

Sims-Walker did not have an MRI on Sunday but his groin is sore and Spagnuolo said he’s likely to be out this week.

“He’s a little sore,” Spagnuolo said. “He’s weak in the groin right now. They didn’t do an MRI. They are going to wait. If it does not improve, they will take a picture of it. He’s probably doubtful going into this particular week’s game.”

Safety Quintin Mikell banged up his elbow last night but Spagnuolo said he check out fine and should be good to go this week.

Spagnuolo said the Rams will also get some guys back from injury this week including linebacker James Laurinaitis (pectoral), cornerback Ron Bartell (ankle), end James Hall (flexor) and receiver Greg Salas (hamstring). He was hopeful that tight end Michael Hoomanawanui would also get back on the field for some reps this week.

Receiver Donnie Avery is still dealing with knee and hamstring issues and Spagnuolo said the team would “tread lightly” with him this week.

CLEANLINESS IS GODLINESS: Most preseason games take a lot longer than regular season games because of the amount of penalties and injuries that normally take place.

It’s somewhat of a fact of exhibition life that both will occur more frequently in the preseason, especially in the first game.

But Saturday’s opener was one of the faster preseason games in recent memory as there wasn’t a single penalty until the third quarter.

All told, there were just two flags in the game, both on the Rams.

“Very encouraged by that,” Spagnuolo said. “I hope it continues. I hope it doesn’t mean the officials were trying to get home early. We did a good job that way. We have been preaching it. Of course, you preach it every year, every coach does, every team does. But it’s nice when it transfers on the field. It’s hard to win games when you are going backwards.”

RAM BITS: The Rams did not allow a sack in the opener against the Colts…Spagnuolo was pleased with the young cornerbacks that filled in last night but said the Rams will keep their eyes open to possibly add more depth at the position…