1. Welcome to San Diego Chargers NFL Football Podcast and Forum!

    Bolt Talk is one of the largest online communities for the San Diego Chargers. We host a regular Chargers podcast during the season. You are currently viewing our community forums as a guest user.

    Create an Account or

    Having an account grants you additional privileges, such as creating and participating in discussions. Furthermore, we hide most of the ads once you register as a member!
    Dismiss Notice

Chargers investing in kicking insurance

Discussion in 'Chargers Fan Forum' started by Johnny Lightning, May 19, 2010.

  1. Johnny Lightning

    Johnny Lightning Go Bolts

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2006
    Messages:
    23,310
    Ratings:
    +1,703
    [​IMG]

    By Tim Sullivan, UNION-TRIBUNE COLUMNIST
    Wednesday, May 19, 2010




    Nick Novak is auditioning for a job, but probably not Nate Kaeding’s.
    The Chargers’ new kicker is a precaution, a contingency, a fallback. More of a “What-if?” than a “What’s-up-with-that?” For as much blame as has been attached to Kaeding for his three missed field goals in the Bolts’ first-round playoff exit, he remains the most accurate regular-season kicker in NFL history.
    This means he gets a mulligan. At least for now.
    “Everyone knows there’s competition,” Chargers coach Norv Turner said Tuesday afternoon. “Our guys know that you go in and you’re competing for a job, but in no way is this meant as a threat to Nate. Obviously, we’re protecting ourselves if we have an injury.”
    By spending two of their 80 roster spots on Novak and free- agent punter Cort Johnson, the Chargers have doubled their investment in big-legged backup plans. This reflects both the team’s uneven training camp experiences with kicker/punter hybrids and the groin problems that have afflicted Kaeding and his punting sidekick, Mike Scifres.
    If Turner is simultaneously sending a message to pro football’s bafflingly bi-polar booter, it is unspoken, subliminal and vague. Since there’s no suitable way to simulate playoff pressure, there’s no reliable way to tell whether Kaeding has left his Jets’ baggage behind until next January.
    For the moment, then, Nick Novak’s job description conjures that of a Hollywood body double — to serve as a stand-in rather than a replacement; to lighten Kaeding’s load during the mundane months of preseason.
    “I don’t look too far in the future,” Novak said at the close of Tuesday’s Organized Team Activities at Chargers Park. “I just take it one day at a time. It’s definitely not my job to speculate. They told me I would get a good opportunity to get reps in preseason and in the offseason.
    “My No. 1 thing is to make an impression.... It’s really a job interview for every team in the NFL.”
    Kickers are pro football’s movable feet, guys whose job security can fluctuate with an untimely gust of wind or a false step on a muddy field. They are the players shown the least patience and the most scapegoating. Though he has twice won Super Bowls with field goals in the closing seconds, Adam Viniateri refers to his calling as “a renter’s profession.”
    “It’s a position where, if you’ve got a job, sometimes you still don’t want to unpack your bags,” kicker Olindo Mare once told ESPN.com. Then with the New Orleans Saints, Mare has since resurfaced in Seattle.
    Novak’s résumé reads like a road map. Born in San Diego to a pair of itinerant university professors, Novak attended high school in Virginia, lists his permanent address in Indiana and has lately been based in Maryland. Though he departed the University of Maryland as the Atlantic Coast Conference’s all-time leading scorer, his professional career has included six NFL stops plus a tour with the Cologne Centurions of NFL Europa. In parts of three NFL seasons, most recently with the 2008 Kansas City Chiefs, Novak converted 19-of-30 field-goal attempts and all 32 of his extra points.
    Stylistically, Novak is what kicking consultant Gary Zauner refers to as a “cruncher.”
    “It’s almost like trying to kick a ball while you’re trying to run over a hurdle,” said Zauner, who coached Novak previously with the Arizona Cardinals. “Your whole body bends forward at the waist. Some guys kick pretty effectively that way, but I made a couple of suggestions about staying more upright and kicking with his leg rather than his body....
    “To me, Nick is kicking at a very high level now.”
    Whether Novak can reach a level lofty enough to challenge Kaeding is doubtful. Still, his presence should reduce the number of kicks the incumbent will be asked to make during training camp drills, and allow Kaeding to resume his regular workload on a more gradual basis.
    Still rehabilitating the groin pull that caused him to withdraw from the Pro Bowl, Kaeding is not attending the Chargers’ OTA this week. He said Tuesday night that he has recently begun some light kicking at the latest point in his offseason since high school.
    “Personally, I’m just concerned with getting myself back to game preparation and putting three good (preseason) months together,” Kaeding said. “I’m hoping a month or two of enforced down time will help.”
    Zauner suspects Kaeding may already have been hurt when he missed those three field goals against the Jets, “and didn’t tell anybody because who else is going to kick?” How else to explain three straight misses by a man who had missed only three field goals in 35 attempts all season?
    Kaeding insists the injury occurred at the Pro Bowl.
    “That was kind of the baffling thing,” Kaeding said. “It was very awkward timing.”
    For Nick Novak, Kaeding’s injury has improved his prospects. He had been considering opportunities in the United Football League when the Chargers called.
    “I’m definitely very hungry,’’ he said. “I feel like I’ve competed against every kicker who’s out there — veterans, rookies and what have you. I’m past the phase where I’m intimidated.
    “I want to be able to not just participate in the NFL, but make a contribution like Nate has over the past five years.”
    If not in San Diego, somewhere else. It is, after all, a renter’s profession.
     
  2. LaDeezie21

    LaDeezie21 BoltTalker

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2005
    Messages:
    649
    Ratings:
    +82
    It has begun!! Yippie!! I'm so happy that the beginning of the end of Nate is here!
     
  3. WonderSlug

    WonderSlug Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2005
    Messages:
    9,747
    Ratings:
    +851
    You must have missed the first sentence in the article.
     
  4. bigmike.x.09

    bigmike.x.09 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2006
    Messages:
    3,493
    Ratings:
    +280
    or like 68% of the article
     
  5. CoronaDoug

    CoronaDoug Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2007
    Messages:
    7,539
    Ratings:
    +814
    Did they hire a sports psychologist? :icon_rofl:

    I am claiming Nick Novak as my adopted Bolt! Even if he does not make the team!! :lol:
     
    • Like Like x 1
  6. CoronaDoug

    CoronaDoug Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2007
    Messages:
    7,539
    Ratings:
    +814
    So you want to be known as a choke artist? You want to contribute three playoff losses to your NFL team?
     
  7. WonderSlug

    WonderSlug Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2005
    Messages:
    9,747
    Ratings:
    +851
    For most of last season, I thought your sig about Kaeding was a little harsh.

    Until...

    I saw the Saints' *ROOKIE* kicker go 5 for 5 in the postseason. Dude made FG of 38, 40, 46, 44, and 47 yards.

    :icon_eek:
     
  8. CoronaDoug

    CoronaDoug Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2007
    Messages:
    7,539
    Ratings:
    +814
    I don't blame any of you. I was tuned in and saw it coming. I didn't expect any of you to follow my gospel. HollywoodLeo can back this up. :lol:
     
    • Like Like x 1
  9. Ride The Lightning

    Ride The Lightning Join the Dark Side, we have cookies.

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2006
    Messages:
    10,930
    Ratings:
    +1,748
  10. Retired Catholic

    Retired Catholic BoltTalker

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2006
    Messages:
    7,894
    Ratings:
    +347
    Arnold Mandell could probably use the income to supplement his retirement.
     
  11. LaDeezie21

    LaDeezie21 BoltTalker

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2005
    Messages:
    649
    Ratings:
    +82
    Are you kidding me? Do you honestly think that Nate the Great would be able to handle it if he was told that his replacement had been brought in?

    I actually think that the first sentence speaks volumes, and actually proves my point.
     
  12. WonderSlug

    WonderSlug Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2005
    Messages:
    9,747
    Ratings:
    +851
    How does

    show that Nate's job is in jeopardy?


    The Bolts have drafted or signed 5 kickers the past couple of years, and none have been unable to unseat him. Novak won't either.

    The only way Kaeding really loses his job is if he starts shanking 30 yard FG in the regular season like Nick Folk did.
     
  13. LaDeezie21

    LaDeezie21 BoltTalker

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2005
    Messages:
    649
    Ratings:
    +82
    The fact that they are looking doesn't sound an alarm to you?

    Wait, you're a Nate fan. What am I thinking? You live in a different reality than most fans. In your world Nate is the best regular and post season kicker in the league. Sorry man, I didn't mean to impose on your sense of reality.
     
  14. HollywoodLeo

    HollywoodLeo Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2006
    Messages:
    15,215
    Ratings:
    +2,424
    With me off the wagon I doubt he has any supporters left. :lol:
     
  15. WonderSlug

    WonderSlug Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2005
    Messages:
    9,747
    Ratings:
    +851
    They've supposedly been "looking" for 3 years, and still nothing changed.

    And where did I say he was the best in the regular and postseason?

    I said, as long as Nate continues to be 85 to 90 percent accurate on his FG in the regular season, he stays.

    Doesn't matter if his kickoffs only reach the 10 yard line.

    Doesn't even really matter that he's only slightly better than 50% in the playoffs.

    Nick Folk was cut by the Cowboys because of the easy FGs he missed in the regular season. Kickoffs and postseason performance didn't have anything to do with it.

    The Redskins jettisoned their kicker Suisham for the easy FGs he missed in the regular season. Kickoffs weren't considered. Definitely not postseason since there was none to consider.

    During the regular season, Nate has missed just one FG under 40 yards over the past 3 years. He's 62 of 63.

    He's also 142 of 143 on PAT in that time frame.

    As long as that continues, he's a Charger, even if he chokes in the playoffs and his kickoffs only reach the 10.
     
  16. HollywoodLeo

    HollywoodLeo Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2006
    Messages:
    15,215
    Ratings:
    +2,424
    I can handle the lame duck kick offs if they come with reliable field goal kicking.

    It's the choking in the playoffs that I cannot stomach.

    (And before the peanut gallery chimes in, I didn't view that as a trend until now considering the circumstances surrounding it before the debacle this year)
     
  17. RM24

    RM24 BoltTalker

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2007
    Messages:
    3,109
    Ratings:
    +264
    The only thing I pray for is that it doesn't come down to Nate "Finkel" to win a playoff game for us. If it does, I'm leaving the building.....:icon_evil:
     
  18. WonderSlug

    WonderSlug Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2005
    Messages:
    9,747
    Ratings:
    +851
    Yeah, they better start passing out Tums at the stadium. :lol:

    CoronaDoug will be downing a six-pack of Coronas in either case. If Nate makes it, it will be to celebrate the victory. If Nate misses, it will be to drown another year of sorrow.
     
  19. HollywoodLeo

    HollywoodLeo Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2006
    Messages:
    15,215
    Ratings:
    +2,424
    I'm pretty sure that describes just about every one of us.

    edit: well, not the Corona part. :lol:
     
  20. LaDeezie21

    LaDeezie21 BoltTalker

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2005
    Messages:
    649
    Ratings:
    +82
    I've never understood the unconditional support from Nate fans. I guess it's his boyish looks?
     
  21. HollywoodLeo

    HollywoodLeo Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2006
    Messages:
    15,215
    Ratings:
    +2,424
    I don't think he has unconditional support from anyone anymore. :lol:

    As to before the playoff game, he had support because his amazing accuracy over the years overshadowed what was only 2 misses made about a half decade prior (albeit important ones) that detractors always focused on.

    Missing 3 more playoff kicks in the present time in another important game killed that.

    If I had a Kaeding jersey (which thankfully I wasn't that much of a fan/supporter :lol: ) I would have burned it on the spot.
     
  22. HollywoodLeo

    HollywoodLeo Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2006
    Messages:
    15,215
    Ratings:
    +2,424
    And don't read the above post as an attempt to still defend him because I'm off that wagon.

    I'm simply pointing out that the alleged "unconditional support" wasn't exactly unconditional. There was reasoning behind it. Even if that reasoning may look flawed in retrospect, it was still reasoning.
     
  23. LaDeezie21

    LaDeezie21 BoltTalker

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2005
    Messages:
    649
    Ratings:
    +82
    So what you're saying is that you're a recovering Nate backer? :lol::lol:
    I'm just messin man.
    Listen I don't hate the guy, I just don't think he is of any worth to the team in the post season. Fans grilled Marty for not trusting him in the playoffs, but I think he knew what he was dealing with. I had a feeling he was a choker when he missed the kicks against the Jets his rookie season. It's just one of those things where I could tell that the moment was too big for him. It's not his fault, he obviously doesn't try to purposely miss, but I just don't think he can fix the mental block he gets during the playoffs.

    I just don't know how many more chances we're going to give the guy. If he misses all of his kicks during this years playoff loss will we get rid of him? Or will we give him yet another chance?
     
  24. Boltzlover

    Boltzlover BoltTalker

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2009
    Messages:
    165
    Ratings:
    +28
    Nate the Great will kick us to a SB victory this season. :yes:
     
  25. WonderSlug

    WonderSlug Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2005
    Messages:
    9,747
    Ratings:
    +851
    All it means is that Norv will probably approach the regular season and postseason differently.

    If the Bolts have a 4th and 4 from the opponent's 19 during the regular season, you bring in Nate to kick the 35 yard FG.

    If that situation occurs in the postseason, you don't kick the FG, and go for it.

    :icon_eek:
     
  26. HollywoodLeo

    HollywoodLeo Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2006
    Messages:
    15,215
    Ratings:
    +2,424
    I still like the idea of bringing in a 2nd kicker just for the playoffs. :lol:
     
  27. WonderSlug

    WonderSlug Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2005
    Messages:
    9,747
    Ratings:
    +851
    Me too.

    Let Nate be his highly-accurate self during the regular season.

    Then bring in John Carney for the playoffs. :icon_eek:
     
  28. CoronaDoug

    CoronaDoug Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2007
    Messages:
    7,539
    Ratings:
    +814
    I feel as if a weight has been lifted from my shoulders. I do not have to go into this season trying to convince anyone. :lol:
     

Share This Page