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Saturday, September 5, 2015

Miami Dolphins Kicker, Punter & Snapper News

September 5, 2015 - Andrew Franks wins kicking job, Caleb Sturgis released
"The Dolphins continued their turnover on special teams by cutting place-kicker Caleb Sturgis, who led Miami in scoring the past two seasons but was inconsistent at times. Instead, Miami will go with rookie Andrew Franks. The team now has undrafted rookies at place-kicker and punter." - ESPN

September 1, 2015 - Matt Darr wins punting job, Brandon Fields released
"The move saves the Dolphins roughly $1 million in 2015 salary cap, which the Dolphins would presumably like to carry over to next year. They are already over the projected 2016 cap. Fields, a seventh-round pick in 2007, is one of only two punters in NFL history to average 48.8 yards per punt or higher in three straight years. Darr, an undrafted rookie out of Tennessee, outperformed Fields this preseason. He had both a higher punting average (50.3 to 47.0) and net punting average (41.9 to 41.1)." - Miami Herald

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July 26, 2015 - kicker Caleb Sturgis injury update
"Sturgis is expected to return at or near the start of training camp after injuring his left quad playing in a team-sponsored kickball game. He led the Dolphins in scoring the past two seasons. 'I’ve been here the last three weeks, and he’s been here every day working his tail off,' Philbin said of Sturgis. "I think he should be ready to roll'." - ESPN

June 1, 2015 - kicker Caleb Sturgis suffers quad injury
"Sturgis will miss the rest of OTAs (Organized Team Activities) and possibly the June 16-18 mini-camp due to a thigh bruise to his left (non-kicking) leg. 'We’ll see how things go,' coach Joe Philbin said. Rookie Andrew Franks, who attended Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) in Troy, N.Y., will handle placekicking duties in Sturgis’ absence." - Sun-Sentinel

May 5, 2015 - kicker Zach Hocker released

May 2, 2015 - kicker Andrew Franks signed
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) senior kicker Andrew Franks has agreed to a free agent contract with the Miami Dolphins of the National Football League (NFL). He is expected to join the Dolphins on Wednesday or Thursday and participate in the team's rookie camp as well as the OTAs (organized team activities) later month and in June. 'I got to work out one-on-one with Miami, with their special teams coordinator, and I thought that workout went really well,' Franks said. 'I fit their needs quite well, and they give me a good chance to fight for a job. They kept in good contact throughout this draft process and they made it pretty easy for me'." - RPI

May 2, 2015 - punter Matt Darr signed
"Former Tennessee punter Matt Darr posted on his Twitter account Saturday night that he has signed with the NFL's Miami Dolphins as an undrafted free agent. 'Miami it is!' he tweeted. 'Thankful to have this opportunity with the #Dolphins organization. The journey continues! #LetItRide #VFL' Darr served as the Vols' starting punter last season as a fifth-year senior. He played in 24 games and started in 22 during his UT career, averaging 40.6 yards on 136 punts, with 27 kicks of 50-plus yards and 46 that were downed inside the 20." - 247Sports

March 10, 2015 - punter Brandon Fields contract restructured
"The Miami Dolphins have found a way to restructure Brandon Fields' contract, keeping the top shelf punter with the only NFL franchise he's every played for. Fields was due $7.18 million in the final two years of his contract. He was the NFL's second-highest paid punter coming into the 2015 season, which is why the Dolphins planned to cut the former Michigan State standout if he didn't agree to a new deal. After some back and forth with his agent for the past 48 hours sources say 'a favorable deal for both parties got done.' Terms of the new deal have are not immediately available, but they'll certainly feature a 2015 cap hit that's lower than his old $3.1 million hit. Sources say the deal saves Miami $1 million in cap space, and remains a two-year deal." - Sun-Sentinel

January 6, 2015 - kicker Zach Hocker signed
"Hocker wrote: 'New team, same dream. Happy to say I’m officially a Miami Dolphin. I am truly grateful for this opportunity.' Hocker will have to win the starting role over Miami’s current placekicker Caleb Sturgis during the offseason and preseason. Sturgis hit 29-of-37 field goals for an average of 78.4 percent in 2014. In 2013, Sturgis was 26-of-34 for a 76.5 percent average. Hocker was selected in the seventh round of the 2014 NFL Draft by the Washington Redskins but was beaten by Washington’s veteran kicker Kai Forbath. Hocker was cut from the Redskins during the preseason." - The Courier

December 1, 2014 - Caleb Sturgis kicks game winner over Jets
"The Miami Dolphins kept their playoff hopes intact by rallying for a 16-13 victory over the New York Jets on Monday night when Caleb Sturgis made a 26-yard field goal with 1:57 remaining.... Sturgis also made field goals of 43 and 44 yards. Caleb Sturgis and Nick Folk traded field goals in the third quarter and the New York Jets took a 13-6 lead over the Miami Dolphins into the fourth quarter of a low-scoring snoozer Monday night." - The Ledger

October 21, 2014 - coach says specialists need to improve
"After another uneven performance by special teams, Dolphins coaches challenged players to start performing consistently Tuesday, with coach Joe Philbin going so far as to tell kicker Caleb Sturgis — in front of the team — things must improve. The Dolphins’ 27-14 victory at Chicago on Sunday evened the team’s record at 3-3 but failed to mask issues with both the punting and kicking games. Brandon Fields, a Pro Bowl punter a year ago, averaged only 37.5 yards on two punts, including a shank of 34 yards. Sturgis made 2-of-4 field-goal attempts, succeeding from 33 and 19 yards but wide right from 50 and having a 37-yard attempt blocked. Philbin emphasized he expects more from both players and is confident he’ll get it. 'I like the way he’s been kicking the ball,' Philbin said of Sturgis. 'We were in the team meeting today and we said we’ve got to make those field goals … He knows that and I suspect that he will work at it and he’ll get better at it.' Sturgis has converted 11-of-14 attempts this season and is 3-of-5 from 40 or more yards. In his two-year career, Sturgis is 4-of-8 from 50 or more yards. Fields is averaging 43.3 yards per punt, well off 48.8 of a year ago. His net average of 31.8 also lags far behind last year’s 42.4. Fields said he has focused on 'little things, whether it’s my steps, my drop, how I’m holding the ball.' Fields said flaws in his fundamentals are correctable." - Palm Beach Post

September 7, 2014 - Caleb Sturgis kicks four field goals in upset of Patriots
"Sturgis, who played at St. Augustine High, scored 15 points in Miami’s 33-20 victory against New England. The former Florida product was perfect on four field goals and three extra points to help the Dolphins topple the defending AFC East champions.... Sturgis showed no signs of a groin injury that plagued him all of preseason, by connecting on kicks of 38, 24, 22 and 27 yards in the Dolphins upset." - St. Augustine Record

September 2, 2014 - kicker Caleb Sturgis ready
"Sturgis still has a labored walk because of the groin strain he suffered in week one of camp, then re-aggravated before the Tampa Bay exhibition game. but the former University of Florida standout, whom the Dolphins selected in the fifth-round of the 2013 draft, says he'll be ready for Sunday's season-opener against the New England Patriots. 'I feel bad. I want to be part of the team,' Sturgis said when asked about all the time he's missed. 'Especially at this position [because] you get limited opportunities to begin with. At the same time you got to stay confident [believing] that you're going to get healthy, and when you do get healthy you're going to do your job well.' Sturgis is confident he'll be able to handling Miami's kickoffs, and that distance kicks won't be an issue, saying 'I feel great now'." - Sun Sentinel

August 30, 2014 - kicker Jake Rogers released

August 25, 2014 - kicker John Potter waived, Caleb Sturgis improving
"Potter sustained a thigh injury after kicking a 26-yard first-quarter field goal in Saturday’s 25-20 victory over Dallas. The Dolphins still have two kickers on the roster – Caleb Sturgis, the likely regular season kicker who is sidelined with a groin injury, and Jake Rogers, who was signed Monday. There’s a chance Sturgis is healthy enough to kick in the Sept. 7 opener against New England. He didn’t practice Monday but seemed fairly active. Sturgis went through rehabilitation work on the side along with running back Mike Gillislee (hamstring) and simulated kickoffs during a special teams drill." - Sun Sentinel

August 24, 2014 - kicker Jake Rogers signed
"In light of injuries to Caleb Sturgis and John Potter, the Dolphins are set to sign free-agent kicker Jake Rogers, a source told FOX Sports. Rogers has spent time with six NFL teams (Cleveland, Washington, New Orleans, Tampa Bay, Dallas and the New York Giants) as both a kicker and punter since 2011 but hasn't appeared in a regular-season game. The University of Cincinnati's all-time leading scorer, Rogers was with the Browns and Redskins earlier this year before being released. Rogers may have to handle the kicking duties Thursday in Miami's preseason finale against St. Louis. Sturgis, who was Miami's kicker in 2013, remains sidelined by a groin ailment while Potter left Saturday night's preseason win over Dallas with a hip injury." - Fox Sports

August 23, 2014 - kicker John Potter leaves game with hip injury
"John Potter, working in place of an injured Caleb Sturgis (groin), left Saturday night’s exhibition game against the Cowboys with a hip injury. He did not return. Potter appeared to injure himself while connecting on a 26-yard field goal in the first half. He went immediately to the locker room, leaving Brandon Fields to handle kickoff duties. The Dolphins went scoreless the rest of the half and didn’t need a kicker. After the intermission, Fields and John Denney were the only specialists to come out of the locker room." - Miami Herald
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August 19, 2014 - kicker Caleb Sturgis to miss this week's game
Caleb Sturgis will miss Saturday’s preseason game against Dallas because of a groin ailment.... Sturgis hopes to kick in Miami’s preseason finale Aug. 28 against St. Louis, the source said.... Asked by local media about how much uncertainty he had about who would be kicking in the regular-season opener Sept. 7 against New England, Philbin said, 'We’ll see. We’ve got a lot of time … We’re open to anything. We haven’t named any kicker. I don’t know who’s going to be kicking for the New England game yet'.” - Fox Sports

August 18, 2014 - kicker Caleb Sturgis re-injury
The Miami Dolphins rested kicker Caleb Sturgis for nearly two weeks hoping his strained groin would healthy enough for him to kick during Saturday night's 20-14 preseason win over Tampa Bay. Sturgis was 3-for-3 on field goals attempts during Thursday's practice, participated in Friday's walk through, and began warming up on the field before Miami's second preseason game. However, numerous television stations caught Sturgis re-aggravating his groin strain during his warm-up. The coaches immediately shut the former University of Florida standout down, and used newly signed kicker John Potter for all field goals, extra points and kickoffs against the Buccaneers.... If Sturgis doesn't make a full recovery by Aug. 30, which is the day all NFL teams must trim the roster to 53 players, his status could become problematic for first-year GM Dennis Hickey because it would be burdensome to carry two kickers on the 53-man roster. However, the Dolphins can't afford to have Sturgis' groin problems cost the team victories, and field position on kickoffs like last season. Miami could place Sturgis on injured reserve, and make him the one player allowed to come off IR during the season. However, that would mean he'd miss the first half of this season, or possible the entire year." - Sun Sentinel

August 16, 2014 - John Potter handles kicking against Bucs
"New Dolphins kicker John Potter, pressed into action when Caleb Sturgis appeared to aggravate his nagging groin injury, blasted field goals of 51 and 48 yards and made both extra points in the Dolphins' 20-14 win over the Buccaneers. Potter was added to replace Danny Hrapmann, who was cut after missing two field goals in practice on Thursday. Last season, Sturgis' groin contributed to him missing five field goals in the middle of the season, and those missed kicks played a factor in Miami's losses to the Ravens, Bills and Patriots." - Orlando Sentinel

August 15, 2014 - kicker John Potter signed, Danny Hrapmann waived
"The 6-1, 219-pound Potter joins the Dolphins from the Detroit Lions where he spent a portion of the 2014 off-season prior to being released on May 12, 2014. He has appeared in nine career games with the Buffalo Bills and Washington Redskins and has made three of the four field goals he attempted and all seven point after tries. Potter originally entered the NFL as a seventh round pick (251st overall) of the Buffalo Bills in the 2012 NFL Draft. He was released by the Bills on November 6, 2012. He signed with the Washington Redskins on June 12, 2013 and was released on August 26, 2013. He re-signed with the Redskins on September 14, 2013 and was released October 1, 2013. He signed with the Lions on December 31, 2013. A four-year letter winner and academic All-America at Western Michigan, Potter appeared in 50 games for the Broncos connecting on 47 of 65 field goals and 184 of 188 point after attempts." - Dolphins

August 14, 2014 - kicker Caleb Sturgis returns to practice
"Sturgis kicked field goals in a competitive setting Thursday for the first time since he sustained a groin injury. Sturgis made all four of his field goal attempts — from 39, 41, 42 and 44 yards." - Dolphins

August 5, 2014 - kicker Danny Hrapmann signed
"Hrapmann’s signing is an indication kicker Caleb Sturgis, who has been battling a groin ailment, isn’t likely to play in the preseason opener Friday at Atlanta. Hrapmann, who attended Southern Mississippi, spent the 2014 offseason in camp with Arizona but was cut Friday. Hrapmann signed with Pittsburgh after being undrafted in 2012 and spent the 2012 and 2013 offseasons with the Steelers but was cut in August both years. Sturgis has attended with the Dolphins the last two days, which is more promising than being inside the facility doing rehabilitation work, but he hasn’t done much. He kicked an extra point in Saturday’s scrimmage but turned up on the injury report Monday, which in Dolphins parlance, means he’s likely to miss a few practices." - Sun Sentinel

August 2, 2014 - Brandon Bogotay tryout
"The Miami Dolphins are going to work out kicker Brandon Bogotay on Sunday, according to a league source. Bogotay played collegiately at Georgia. He handled kickoff duties, converted seven career point-after touchdowns and made 1 of 2 field goals as a senior with his only miss coming from 52 yards. Bogotay kicked behind Minnesota Vikings Pro Bowl kicker Blair Walsh at Georgia. Bogotay was signed by the Cleveland Browns last year and was released prior to the start of the regular season." - National Football Post

July 28, 2014 - kicker Caleb Sturgis
On the field, Sturgis isn’t a rookie anymore so training camp isn’t quite the eye-opening experience it was 12 months ago. He also now is the only kicker in training camp for the Dolphins, a drastic change from last year when he came in looking to unseat veteran incumbent Dan Carpenter. What hasn’t changed is Sturgis’ drive. In fact, it just might be even more intense after a rookie season he deemed not up to his standards.... Like Sturgis, punter Brandon Fields and long-snapper John Denney also are the only players at their position in training camp. Denney happens to be the longest-tenured player on the roster, while Fields is the second-longest-tenured. Sturgis would love nothing better than to achieve that kind of longevity. He’s doing everything in his power to achieve that goal, but first and foremost to improve on his rookie season. 'Every day you go out there you want to hit every field goal,' Sturgis said. 'You try. When you get in a rhythm where you’re hitting every field goal you make, you stay at a consistent level. I think the other thing is just being real conscious with how many kicks you take every day, how many to warm up, but every one counts because another big thing for us is health and if you’re healthy all the way through it makes everything a lot easier'.” - Dolphins

May 19, 2014 - kicker Gregory Rivara invited to minicamp
"Gregory Rivara, former Lobo kicker, wasn’t even recruited to play for UNM, but now he’s getting ready to prove he’s ready for the pros. 'It was a bit surreal,' Rivara said. 'It took a few minutes for it to set in.” Rivara said he got a call from the Miami Dolphins special teams coach last week. 'He asked me how my weekend was, and asked me if I was ready to go and I said yes, sir,' Rivara said. 'He said well we’re extending an invite to rookie mini-camp to you. I’ve thought about that for 10 years'.... The call from the Dolphins could prove his hard work has paid off. Until he leaves for camp Thursday, he said you can find him on the field twice a day. 'I have to do what ever I have to do so when I get to that camp I’m ready to go,' Rivara said." - WRQE

May 13, 2014 - punter Matt Szymanski waived
"The Dolphins made one other move Tuesday, releasing punter Matt Szymanski." - Miami Herald

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May 12, 2014 - kicker Anthony Fera tryout
The Dolphins worked out undrafted free agent, former Texas kicker Anthony Fera. See his profile here.

April 22, 2014 - punter Matt Szymanski signed
"The Miami Dolphins have signed former Southern Methodist punter Matt Szymanski to the team's training camp roster.... Szymanski, who has experience as a kicker and punter, was signed to the Kansas City Chiefs training camp roster, and was actually put on the practice squad last year. He initially signed with Texas A&M, but transferred to SMU after his sophomore season. At SMU Szymanski handled all of the Mustang's kicking duties. Szymanski made all but one of the 80 extra point attempts he made his junior and senior season. He also averaged 41.5 yards per punt in his collegiate career. He punted 123 times for 5,105 yards, with a long of 74 yards. However, he only made 35 of 58 field goal attempts during his college career, and that included making 7-of-12 attempts his senior season." - Sun Sentinel

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