Chargers: Ty Long has been (mostly) gold
The coupon god, Tom Telesco, has struck again with another offseason bargain, but it has been one quite different than others in the past.
Finding a bargain punter is common across the league; but, when Michael Badgley went down right before the first game, that bargain punter became a combo kicker/punter – something practically obsolete in the modern-day NFL.
And Long has not only survived but excelled in that role thus far. As a kicker, he is 7 for 9, with five of those seven makes coming from 40+ yards out.
While Ty Long seems to have the magic to be a viable NFL kicker and punter at the same time, this is unsustainable. Early in Week 4, Long limped off the field after an early kickoff.
Asking one person to handle kickoffs, field goals, and punts is simply too much action for one leg. Long cannot keep this up, and his limp likely spurred the Chargers to sign Chase McLaughlin.
But that does not mean Ty Long is not a great NFL punter. Over these past four weeks, Long has punted for an average of 49.3 yards with 4 kicks inside the 20. This yards/punt average would have been the best in the NFL in 2018.
Long cannot do everything, but he should be appreciated for what he is. Ty Long is an excellent NFL punter with extra value due to his ability to serve as a short-term kicker. Expect him to improve his game now that he will be allowed to focus on punting.
Verdict: His kicking is unsustainable, but Long should develop into an elite NFL punter