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INDIANAPOLIS Rodrigo Blankenship hears the questions about his kicking, but doesn’t think those are necessarily valid.

The main concern with Blankenship’s kicking in the NFL has been connecting on longer kicks.

He’s 1-of-4 in attempts from 50-plus yards in his two NFL seasons.

Inside of 40-45 yards has been almost routine for Hot Rod.

Anything longer than 45 yards though and the Colts have a major question at placekicker.

Hot Rod points to his 6-of-9 collegiate career of longer than 50 yards during his time at Georgia (long of 55 yards).

He also realizes that his NFL career, from that distance, has not led to the same amount of success.

Of course, a change in the actual kicking ball from college to the professional level is something that can provide challenges in transitioning to the NFL.

The Colts decided to roll with the hot leg last year once Blankenship had recovered from injuring his hip during pre-game warmpus against Baltimore.

Once Blankenship was fully healthy by Thanksgiving, the Colts stuck with Michael Badgley, and for good reason. Badgley was 18-of-21 on field goals and a perfect 39-of-39 on extra points in replacing Blankenship for the final 12 games of the season.

Back in January—with Badgley heading for free agency and Blankenship still under contract—Chris Ballard gave his thoughts on the team’s kicking situation.

“Badgley ended up having a pretty good season,” Ballard said. “I wouldn’t say elite, but it was good.

“We will work through it. We still think Rod has good upside and I like Badgley. It’s too early to say what exactly what we will do, but we like both of those guys.”

Badgley remains a free agent this offseason, with the Colts electing for a different option to compete with Hot Rod.

Jake Verity, an undrafted free agent of the Ravens in 2021, is the other kicker on the roster.

Verity has yet to kick in an NFL game, going 4-of-5 on field goals (long of 53) last preseason. In college at East Carolina, Verity was 74-of-98 (75.5%) on field goals, and 23-of-39 on kicks of longer than 40 yards (a long of 52).

That resume doesn’t scream a major uptick in the distance question.

In last year’s postseason, you saw the Cincinnati Bengals win three-straight one-possession games behind a perfect 14-of-14 field goal run by rookie kicker Evan McPherson (including a 3-of-3 effort from north of 50 yards).

It was a reminder that even if a team wants to be uber-aggressive on 4th down, having such a reliable weapon when three points are up for grabs is massive.

Do the Colts have that, especially if/when drives stall out in the opponent’s 30-to-40-yard range?

Blankenship says he can knock one home from 60 yards inside of Lucas Oil Stadium.

In 2021, Hot Rod was steely in his training camp competition with Eddy Pineiro.

After getting his first taste of being benched in the NFL, we will see how Blankenship handles this competition, with a much more inexperienced Verity.

“I am a competitor and I want to be the guy that’s out there,” Hot Rod says when asked about losing his job last season. “I want to be helping this team and doing whatever I can to contribute to our success on the field but it just wasn’t the plan at the time and I just had to trust in the plan, trust in the process and just do whatever I could to be ready whenever the next opportunity came.”

That opportunity never arose in 2021, but Hot Rod is getting another chance to win his job back this offseason.

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