The Los Angeles Chargers will have a pair of new punters battle for a spot on the 53-man roster.
Yes, this post is about punters. Punters are people too.
Punter was usually a position the Chargers were not worried about, with Mike Scifres punting for the team from 2003 to 2015. In the 2016 NFL Draft, the Chargers selected Drew Kaser to replace Scifres.
He was slowly becoming a solid punter when he was abruptly cut in the middle of the 2018 season, a roster move that shocked everyone.
They gave the reasoning that the Chargers kicking woes were due to him not being a great holder, and brought former Philadelphia Eagle and Super Bowl champion Donnie Jones back from retirement to replace him. He had chemistry holding for former Eagles kicker Caleb Sturgis, who was the Bolts’ kicker at the time.
The kicking problems were eventually fixed with the emergence of Michael Badgley, but Jones, who is 38 years old, proceeded to have a lackluster season and is no longer with the team.
The Chargers brought two new players to compete for Jones’ former spot. Tyler Newsome, an undrafted rookie from Notre Dame and former CFL kicker and punter Ty Long.
Perhaps Badgley’s only shortcoming is his lack of strength for kickoffs. We saw how last season he struggled to kick touchbacks consistently. Only 9 of his 54 kickoffs were touchbacks.
In a division where players like Tyreek Hill and Dwayne Harris wait in the end zone to return those kicks, that simply won’t do. That’s why for the playoff match against the New England Patriots, the Chargers carried two kickers on the roster, signing Nick Rose to take over kickoff duties.
Carrying two kickers is not ideal. Fortunately, both punters have a strong leg, and could potentially take over kickoff duties.
Let’s meet the pair.