Chargers position battles: Kicking competition could be very close
By Travis Wakeman
The battle to see who will be the placekicker of the Los Angeles Chargers is going to be quite interesting.
Josh Lambo versus Younghoe Koo. Following the draft, many fans would have immediately dismissed Koo in this competition as a guy with a weird name. But as those who haven’t seen him in play will soon find out, he has a legitimate shot to win this job.
After all, it’s not like an undrafted kicker has never won the job for the Chargers. That’s exactly how Lambo joined the roster after going undrafted just two years ago. He then came into camp and simply outperformed the fairly reliable Nick Novak.
That was a bit of a surprise. Novak was coming off of a 2014 season in which he made 22-of-26 field goals and all 40 of his extra point attempts. One of those missed field goals was blocked and he had a long fo 52 yards.
In two seasons with the team, Lambo has been no better than that, missing six field goals in each of his first two seasons with the team. He’s also missed four extra points in each of his first four seasons. On top of that, he missed all of his 50-yard field-goal attempts and missed a kick that would have sent the game with the Cleveland Browns on Christmas Eve into overtime. That led to the Browns getting their only win of the season.
So if you were surprised by Lambo taking Novak’s job, don’t be surprised if Lambo loses that same job to Koo.
Born in Seoul, South Korea, Koo grew up in Ridgewood, New Jersey before playing at Georgia Southern University in the Sun Belt Conference. He left the school by making 88.6 percent of his career field goals, a school record.
Last year, Koo was nominated as a finalist for the Lou Groza Award, given each year to the nation’s top kicker.
He has every bit the leg strength that Lambo does and could be even more athletic. And as you’ll see in the video below, he’s probably a much better athlete.
I mean come on. Lambo has his work cut out for him here. And unless he can display the kind of consistency he hasn’t shown while missing extra points or the ability to perform in the clutch that wasn’t there in that game against Cleveland, then Koo will be the team’s new kicker.
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Though it won’t draw the kind of spotlight that the more prominent positions will, I feel this is one of the closest battles the team will see this summer and it literally could go either way.
Lambo could have prevented the team from even bringing in a guy like Koo if he was more consistent last season, so he will have all of the pressure on him.
It’s a hard battle to pick a winner in but for the sake of this, I will.
I don’t see how a guy who misses all of his field goals of over 50 yards and misses four extra points (even if they are longer now) is a guy you could have much confidence in. The team could easily retain Lambo and keep Koo’s phone number close by but I think the team will just give the job to Koo at the end of camp.