LA Chargers News

Los Angeles Chargers: Grading 2019 special teams unit

PITTSBURGH, PA - DECEMBER 02: Mike Badgley #4 of the Los Angeles Chargers kicks the game winning field goal with no time left on the clock in the fourth quarter during the game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field on December 2, 2018 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA - DECEMBER 02: Mike Badgley #4 of the Los Angeles Chargers kicks the game winning field goal with no time left on the clock in the fourth quarter during the game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field on December 2, 2018 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images) /
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DENVER, COLORADO – DECEMBER 30: Donnie Jones #5 of the Los Angeles Chargers punts against the Denver Broncos at Broncos Stadium at Mile High on December 30, 2018 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
DENVER, COLORADO – DECEMBER 30: Donnie Jones #5 of the Los Angeles Chargers punts against the Denver Broncos at Broncos Stadium at Mile High on December 30, 2018 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images) /

Chargers: The punters

Going to the punting game, it’s clear it’s not nearly as set in stone as the kicking game is. Punter was a position that was more solidified when the team had Mike Scifres for 13-straight years. Then it was Drew Kaser time, and while Kaser was a decent punter, the team didn’t seem to have much faith in him. Last year, the Chargers scrambled post-Kaser and picked up Donnie Jones out of retirement. Jones did about as well as one could expect a 38-year old punter out of retirement to do, which ranged from not so great to mediocre.

This year, it’s different. A preseason punter battle will determine who gets the job, and that comes down to two key figures: Tyler Newsome out of Notre Dame, and Ty Long out of the CFL. Newsome was a great punter at Notre Dame and had a rocket leg during his time there. He also is incredibly strong, recording 30 reps on the bench press during Notre Dame’s pro day. Long is a former NFL punter who decided to go play in the CFL once it got harder to find and NFL job, where he played both kicker and punter for the BC Lions.

Throughout the preseason, there will be a battle to see who comes out on top, but there appears to be a slight edge in favor of Long right now. Not only has he been significantly better through two games, but he can also handle both kickoffs and field goals if needed. One of the slight knocks against Badgley has been that his kickoffs are a little short, so maybe bringing in Long to do attempt some of the kickoffs as well as punts wouldn’t hurt.

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