The Chargers have a franchise quarterback, one who made his seventh Pro Bowl shortly after his 36th birthday. They have arguably the best route-running receiver in the game. And they have a top-three scoring defense, one with elite pass rushers and a shutdown corner. They do not have a dependable kicker — which is one reason that their 2017 season is over despite a 9-7 record. General manager Tom Telesco said as much on Thursday, admitting that the Chargers’ “kicking game was not NFL quality this year.” The Chargers cycled through four different full-time placekickers, starting the year with Younghoe Koo before hopping to Nick Novak, Travis Coons and Nick Rose. Novak appeared in seven games, though he missed most of his seventh with a back injury. None of the others lasted more than four. Collectively, they made just 20 of 30 field goal attempts, becoming the only NFL team in the past two seasons to convert fewer than 70 percent. The Chargers didn’t ask their kickers to do anything extraordinary either, attempting only three field goals from at least 50 yards out. Only five teams had fewer attempts. Those struggles cost the Chargers at least one game. In Week 2, they lost a home opener to Miami when Koo’s potential game-winner sailed wide right from 44 yards out. The Dolphins only won five more games the rest of the season. Other missed opportunities come to mind. A week earlier, Koo had a chance to force overtime in Denver; instead, his 44-yard attempt hit a Broncos defensive lineman. After their bye week in November, the Chargers lost in Jacksonville when Josh Lambo — the kicker they had cut in favor of Koo — made a 30-yard kick. Other mistakes doomed the Chargers against the Jaguars, but the lack of a dependable kicker also showed. Early in the second quarter, Coach Anthony Lynn opted to punt from his opponent’s 36-yard line.
Chargers GM Tom Telesco admits team’s kicking was ‘not NFL quality’ in 2017
L.A. Daily News | Jan 8