The Los Angeles Chargers had one of the most unfortunate seasons for placekicking in recent memory last season.
And it doesn’t seem to be getting any better. At least, not judging by how the first preseason game went.
It’s just one game (one that didn’t count in the standings at that) and it’s just one kick, but Chargers fans don’t want to see any missed field goals, at least not before a new kicker has established himself with a few successful boots.
But that’s exactly what happened late in the second quarter of the Bolts’ preseason loss to the Arizona Cardinals.
Having already made a kick from 45 yards out earlier in the evening, Caleb Sturgis trotted out to attempt a kick from 41 yards, but sailed it left. This was just the second kick Chargers fans had seen Sturgis attempt, and he missed it. He might as well have missed the first one too, honestly.
His competition this summer, Roberto Aguayo, a kicker who has gone through plenty of hardships himself, made both of his extra-point attempts. He did not attempt a field goal.
For most, this may not seem like much. As stated, it was just one kick.
But this is a fanbase that is still sick after a 9-7 team just missed the playoffs last season. This fanbase watched Younghoe Koo miss chances to prevent the team’s 0-4 start. It watched as Nick Rose was possibly even worse than Koo and it watched as Drew Kaser, the team’s punter forced into kicking duties, miss the kicking net on the sideline.
CBS broadcast just showed #Chargers punt Drew Kaser practicing field goals into a kicking net placed directly in front of him.
He missed the net.
— Mike Leslie (@MikeLeslieWFAA) November 23, 2017
Yes, that actually happened.
But should fans really be surprised about this? Everyone knew the Chargers would be looking to upgrade the kicking position this offseason and the best they could come up with was Aguayo and Sturgis? Both players have played for multiple teams in their careers and haven’t enjoyed a long stay with one yet.
This, despite a draft that had solid, draftable kickers such as Daniel Carlson and Eddy Pineiro.
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It’s a rough start for sure but if Sturgis comes out and goes 3-for-3 against the Seattle Seahawks this Saturday night, this conversation will be buried quickly. However, his lone miss might have opened the door just a crack for Aguayo to sneak in.
And no matter what, even if Aguayo didn’t miss a field goal or PAT all preseason, there is no way fans would be confident with the thought of going into the season with him as the kicker. And if Sturgis is unable to beat him out, what does that mean?
There might be other kickers on the market. Tom Telesco should have their phone numbers at the ready in his office.
If Sturgis misses another kick against Seattle in the fashion he did against Arizona, things might just get ugly. Unless of course, the team is fine with the prospect of having shaky placekicking for another season.