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Kaeding, Novak battle for job as Bolts kicker

Discussion in 'Chargers Fan Forum' started by CoronaDoug, Jul 27, 2012.

  1. CoronaDoug

    CoronaDoug Well-Known Member

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    Written by

    Nick Canepa


    The “football players,” as former Chargers punter Darren Bennett calls them, trudged out of the sun and disappeared into the locker room after sweating through the first practice of the first day of training camp. Just then, a well-scrubbed Nate Kaeding, looking like a bright college freshman with a backpack, was leaving through the side door, done for this Thursday morning.

    “The life of a kicker,” he said. “I’m going to catch up on my reading.”

    Ah, yes. The place-kicker. I like kickers but I don’t like kickers, if you know what I mean. They’re off by themselves, usually part of a band of brothers living in their own little rooms discussing big bang theories. Most of them just played soccer before Pete Gogolak was the first to go sideways in the NFL. They seem unnecessary until they become necessary, which is all too often. And the real good ones are hard to find — at every level (ask San Diego State, which has had trouble culling one from the herd of thousands of kickers in Southern California).

    Think about it. No position more determines the outcome of games. Despite the presence of Tom Brady and Bill Belichick, the Patriots would have zero Super Bowl rings if not for Adam Vinatieri. The Bills would have at least one if not for the Great Miss of Scott Norwood. Maybe even the Chargers, had Kaeding not stubbed his toe on a couple of makable playoff attempts. Never know.

    As it is, the Chargers now find themselves with a rarity — two incumbent kickers. They have to make a decision, and they probably won’t make one of more importance this summer. Nate Kaeding or Nick Novak? It could have an enormous bearing on their season.

    Kaeding, San Diego’s kicker since 2004, entered 2011 as the most accurate kicker in NFL history. He kicked off in last year’s opener vs. the Vikings and in an attempt to stop Percy Harvin from a touchdown return, failed, and in the process tore the ACL in his left (planting) knee and was lost for the season. On this occasion, Kaeding played the part of “football player,” and it cost him.

    Enter journeyman leg for hire Novak, who was 30 and had been kicking on and off for the Chiefs, ’Skins and Cardinals. Blessed with a stronger leg than Kaeding, Novak made his first 11 field goals, 16 of his first 17, and it appeared as though Nate eventually might have to find a new place of work. But Novak cooled down some, missing two tries in a 16-13 loss to Denver, and finished 27 for 34 (79.4 percent). Hardly awful, but not good enough to put a halt to a Kaeding-Novak kick box off in this camp.

    You would think, as the unwritten fight game rule states (except for Las Vegas judges); you must knock out the champ to win. Novak didn’t. The general feeling is Kaeding will get his job back. But Chargers coach Norv Turner has declared an open competition, so it’s time, may I say, for these guys to put their best feet forward.


    Kaeding doesn’t believe he’s going to be dethroned.

    “I don’t,” he said. “I’ve put a lot on my plate since missing the entire season. I’m focusing on improving and getting better; it’s a little tougher task coming off an injury. But I know what I’m capable of doing when I’m strong and healthy. I feel good. It’s been a prolonged challenge. The knee feels good and now it’s a matter of getting the rest of my body in line.

    “I feel as good as I did driving to the stadium last Sept. 11 for the opener. It was a tough time. You feel like you’re on top of the world and then get knocked down at the knees. I’ve fought through adversity; I’ve always been a fighter.”

    Kaeding has tried 200 regular-season field goals and missed just 27, but people don’t remember those misses. They remember the ones against the Patriots and the Jets, in the playoffs (where he’s 8-for-15), tries that would have won games.

    “It’s part of being a kicker,” Kaeding says with a shrug, “part of the process. I’ve made a lot of kicks, too, you know. We all expect to be perfect. I’d like to have a few mulligans. But I’ve done an awful lot of positive things. I’m damn proud of what I’ve been able to accomplish. I know what it takes to be good for a long time.

    ”My intent, absolutely, is to win this job.”

    Novak isn’t as bold with his words as Kaeding, but he welcomes the competition.

    “To be honest, I’m just trying to get better every day,” he said. “I feel like I’ve had a great offseason. I’m excited, ready to get out there.”

    Asked if he thinks the job is his to win or lose, he politely replied: “I’m not going to answer that. I’m very confident in my ability and I know I’m kicking with a very good kicker in Nate Kaeding. There are only 32 of these jobs and I’m very privileged to be a Charger.”

    I told him he sounds like General Manager A.J. Smith. He laughed.

    “I’ve been in a lot of competitions,” he said. “I’ll approach this like every competition I’ve been in.”

    What about the rumors that the two aren’t friends (unusual for kickers) and that they’re often apart on the practice field?

    “We are good friends,” Novak says. “We admire and respect each other.”

    Says Kaeding: “Nick’s a great guy. Everybody has their own work to do. All kickers relate to each other.”

    Honestly, should we really care if they’re not meeting every day in Monk’s or Central Perk?

    Anyway, there is a dilemma here. What if both kickers have brilliant preseasons? Don’t miss? Kick from every distance? Both healthy?

    “It is an unusual situation,” Norv agreed. “When the time comes, we’ll sit down and talk about the pluses. What we have to see is where Nate is after the injury. You want to make sure he’s back. If he is, he will be hard to unseat.”

    Even Kaeding wonders what it will be like when he kicks off for the first time and chases a returner.

    “Talk to anyone coming back from an injury and there’s anxiety,” he said. “There will be some on the first few kickoffs.”

    And, as usual, with fans every time either one of them lines up for a field goal. Kickers. Can’t live with ’em, can’t live without ’em.

    http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2012...e-for-job-as-bolts-kicker-who/?page=1#article
     
  2. CoronaDoug

    CoronaDoug Well-Known Member

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    Make your choice.... Team Wide Left or Team Wide Right.
     
  3. Blue Bolt

    Blue Bolt Persona Non Grata

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    Kaeding would like a mulligan, eh?........ maybe, golf is his true calling. ;)
     
  4. CoronaDoug

    CoronaDoug Well-Known Member

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    I hear Novak is ahead by an inch .....:roflmao:

    [​IMG]
     
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  5. Buck Melanoma

    Buck Melanoma Guest

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    Got yer own thread, didja CD?

    Miami sucks. :abq1:
     
  6. HEXEDBOLT

    HEXEDBOLT Don't like it, lump it!!!

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    Touch-backs baby.
     
  7. boltfanatik

    boltfanatik Toxic Minority Member

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    Who has more? I'm lazy on research.:D
     
  8. HEXEDBOLT

    HEXEDBOLT Don't like it, lump it!!!

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    Novak has kicked more touch-backs in one game than Tweety has in his career.
     
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  9. matilack

    matilack Take A Knee McCree!!!

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    Yeah but Novak was awful down the stretch last year. At least Kaeding waited until the playoffs to be an embarrassment.
     
  10. HEXEDBOLT

    HEXEDBOLT Don't like it, lump it!!!

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    Making puppies during the playoffs is worse than during the regular season, although I will say, losing is never fun at any time. Sometimes it just hurts more.
     
  11. matilack

    matilack Take A Knee McCree!!!

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    I'm just sayin at least we made it to the playoffs, which is better than not making the playoffs.
     
  12. Blue Bolt

    Blue Bolt Persona Non Grata

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    I'd hazard to say that we didn't miss the playoffs due to Novak's kicking. The 6 game losing streak is what did the team in.
     
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  13. Ride The Lightning

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

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    Fcuk Kaeding.
     
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  14. Lancer 1

    Lancer 1 Eternal Optimist

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    Whether or not we missed the playoffs due to Nick Novak’s kicking is debatable. There were plenty of factors that led to our 2nd straight postseason absence, (most notably, Philip’s struggles for most of the season) and Novak was just one of them. His 2 misses in the overtime loss to Denver stand out, because if he makes just 1 of them (few would deny that Kaeding probably would’ve made the 48 yarder) and we win that game, then our losing streak would not have lasted 6 games and our Week 17 game at Oakland would’ve been for the AFC West title.

    Of course, if Philip doesn’t fumble that snap against Kansas City, exact same story! Those were 2 very costly losses to divisional opponents and either one of them in our win column would’ve given us the AFC West crown.
     
  15. CoronaDoug

    CoronaDoug Well-Known Member

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    There will be no mention of Miami this season and probably many seasons ahead. I have to agree with you, they do suck. :cry:
     
  16. CoronaDoug

    CoronaDoug Well-Known Member

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    Kick-off
    If Wednesday night was any indicator, the Chargers can probably do no wrong when selecting their kicker.
    Nate Kaeding and Nick Novak squared off in a special teams drill, taking turns to kick field goals from distances ranging from 33 to 53 yards.
    Both went 5-for-5.
    Later, Novak was 1-for-2 on a pair of 53-yard tries, missing wide left on his second. Kaeding was wide left on a kick of about 47 yards.

    http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2012/aug/01/mathews-looks-sharp-return-practice/
     
  17. rickochey

    rickochey BoltTalker

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    He is pissing in the Gatorade. He better not be 'pulling' a prank.
     
  18. Pumpkin Bolt

    Pumpkin Bolt Zin me!

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    I think he is mixing up some of AJ's coolaid! :rolleyes:
     
  19. Pumpkin Bolt

    Pumpkin Bolt Zin me!

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    Nick Novak :tup:
     
  20. Blue Bolt

    Blue Bolt Persona Non Grata

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    Care to rephrase that? ;)

    Novak was 1-for-2 on a pair of 53-yard tries, missing wide left on his second. Kaeding was wide left on a kick of about 47 yards.
     
  21. CoronaDoug

    CoronaDoug Well-Known Member

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    Two lefts don't make a right? :geek:
     
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  22. Carlsbad_Bolt_Fan

    Carlsbad_Bolt_Fan Well-Known Member

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    [​IMG]
     
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  23. Pumpkin Bolt

    Pumpkin Bolt Zin me!

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  24. Savage Lizard

    Savage Lizard Charger fan at 7000'

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    I GUARANTEE you that if Kaeding goes elsewhere, he will show up against the Chargers in a playoff game and nail the game winner.
     
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  25. boltfanatik

    boltfanatik Toxic Minority Member

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    Ya know that is a scary thought and probably would happen!:cry:
     
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  26. Pumpkin Bolt

    Pumpkin Bolt Zin me!

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    Maybe after they widen the post!
    [​IMG]
     
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  27. Lance19

    Lance19 BoltTalker

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    Wow! Didn't think I'd live long enough to see the word "strong" in an
    article about lil' Nate (even if he did use it to [jokingly?] refer to himself)

    That said, Novak was--overall--a fine substitute...but it's still Kaeding's job to lose.
     
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  28. CoronaDoug

    CoronaDoug Well-Known Member

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    (7:42) 9-N.Novak 35 yard field goal is No Good, Hit Left Upright, Center-47-M.Windt, Holder-5-M.Scifres.

    We need to cut the both of them. I bet Kaeding will win the job by not attempting any FG's.

    Mark my words (again), a missed FG will screw us this season.
     
  29. Lance19

    Lance19 BoltTalker

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    So what kicker--available now--would you have us replace Kaeding & Novak with?
     
  30. Pointyearedog

    Pointyearedog I only put idiots on ignore...

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    Teach Malone to be a field goal kicker...
     

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