The Los Angeles Chargers have decided to part ways with punter Drew Kaser and if you’re shaking your head, you’re not alone.
Kaser, a sixth-round pick out of Texas A&M in 2016, has played in 36 games for the Chargers and hasn’t really ever done anything poorly. Other than apparently holding on field-goal attempts and extra point kicks after touchdowns.
It’s well known that the Chargers have not been able to make kicks. They’ve been about as bad as the league has ever seen for the past two seasons. The Chargers needed to make a move for sure, but they’re pointing the finger at the wrong guy.
The team hasn’t been able to kick field goals because they’ve had kickers that aren’t the cream of the crop.
Younghoe Koo somehow beat out Josh Lambo last summer, and then kicked away multiple games. Nick Novak could kick, but he got hurt, Travis Coons wasn’t terrible, but the team didn’t like him. Nick Rose was about as bad as it gets.
So this offseason, the team is going to address the position in the draft, right? Actually, no. Instead, the Chargers decided to bring in Caleb Sturgis through free agency, a guy who had already kicked for two other teams.
The second-round bust of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Roberto Aguayo, was also on the roster. He actually won the kicking competition this summer, at least from what I could see, but the team chose the guy they spent the money on and kept Sturgis.
For those wondering about Drew Kaser's release, he was replaced as the team's holder in 2016 and 2017 because of inconsistencies at the position. Lynn also had strong words for Kaser after his blocked punt for a score vs. the Rams.
— Eric Williams (@eric_d_williams) October 2, 2018
Sturgis, to put it mildly, has been really bad this season. He’s already missed two field goals and three extra points. The team probably won’t even bring him on for a kick of over 50 yards. But that’s apparently on the guy holding the ball. The one who just needs to catch it, spin it so that the laces are out, and watch the kick go through the uprights, hopefully.
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The Chargers. though it’s becoming comical, needed to try yet another kicker. Veterans like Kai Forbath and Cairo Santos (who was signed by the Rams on Tuesday) were available, for instance. Instead, the Chargers axed the guy who holds the ball.
Last season, Kaser ranked third in the NFL in average yards per punt and fourth in net yards per punt. So who did the team sign to replace him? The Chargers did have Shane Tripucka, another Texas A&M punter, on the roster this summer. But it’s not going to be him.
How about Donnie Jones? Jones was a seventh-round pick in 2004 and is now 38 years old. He’s played for five other teams in his career, most recently with the Philadelphia Eagles. He retired this offseason but decided he wanted to play again.
He’s the team’s new punter. He’ll also be the holder for Sturgis. So Sturgis, excuses are out. Start making those kicks.