Everybody assumes that Caleb Sturgis will be the team’s placekicker this year and Drew Kaser will be the punter. But not so fast.
Even though that is likely to be the case, both will have to earn their keep with the team.
Sturgis was signed to a two-year deal this offseason but Roberto Aguayo was once taken in the second round of the draft. Though he has struggled mightily since then, it’s not a foregone conclusion that Sturgis will be decidedly better.
Aguayo has struggled, but not because he can’t kick at the professional level, more because his confidence is shot. If he gets into the right situation and gets that confidence back, he’s at least as good as Sturgis. It’s not like Sturgis has been lights out in his career.
He’s on his third NFL team and has made just 81 percent of his career field goals attempts while also missing four extra points.
After last season’s kicking debacle, the Chargers did the best they could to provide themselves with more than one option going into this season. Last year, they chose Younghoe Koo over Josh Lambo. The same mistake can’t be made this year, so there needs to be close attention paid to detail on this competition.
At punter, Kaser has been solid for the team, but don’t sell Shane Tripucka short. Tripucka actually succeeded Kaser as the punter at Texas A&M and has to be amped up for the opportunity to outperform him in camp.
Kaser may have a bit stronger kicking leg, but Tripucka isn’t far behind and the reason he could supplant Kaser is due to the things you don’t immediately think about, such as hang time and placing kicks inside the opponent’s 10-yard line, two areas where Tripucka may actually be better than Kaser.