Over the last couple of seasons, the Los Angeles Chargers have had some really stupid problems. Between the kicking and punter positions, the Chargers have looked like an old Football Follies tape.
Mike Badgley could not have picked a better time to show up last season, solving the often joked about kicking woes the Chargers had been suffering. But the punter position was still a bit shaky after the team cut Drew Kaser, largely in part of the fact that the kickers on the team kept missing kicks and he was the holder.
Donnie Jones was brought off the street to punt for the rest of the year, but the Chargers clearly needed a younger, fresher option. Though there were draftable punters coming out of college, the Chargers didn’t select one.
Instead, they set up a competition between a pair of unknowns, Ty Long and Tyler Newsome, an undrafted free agent out of Notre Dame. Most expected Newsome to win that job.
But is Long the favorite to be the team’s new punter? He is listed as the starter on the first official depth chart. In fact, that might be the biggest takeaway from the depth chart, which was released on Monday.
Chargers first unofficial depth chart of 2019 season lists Austin Ekeler the starter at RB, Rayshawn Jenkins the starter at FS and Ty Long the starting punter. pic.twitter.com/uRBygOwiPX
— Eric Williams (@eric_d_williams) August 5, 2019
Of course, the preseason schedule hasn’t even started yet and there are still several practices remaining in training camp, so some may not want to put much stock into this. It does say, however, that to this point, Long has been the better punter in the eyes of the staff.
Could that be because he has also been kicking field goals? Long was a kicker and punter in college at UAB and handled both positions for the BC Lions in the CFL as well. This could give the Chargers some flexibility as Long’s leg could be utilized on kickoffs.
Badgley was spectacular last year, but remember, the Chargers actually brought in Nick Rose to handle kickoff duties for the team’s playoff loss against the New England Patriots. What a waste of a roster spot.
This way, Long could handle two duties while Badgley could continue as the team’s placekicker and the Chargers wouldn’t have to look at adding a “kickoff specialist” later down the road. There’s no guarantee they would get that if Newsome wins the job.
This will be an even more interesting competition to watch going forward as this is the first time that Long has really been looked at as a viable option for the team.