Posted on: September 11, 2011 10:43 pm
Posted by Will Brinson
The Chargers pulled out a big (and rare) September win Sunday by besting Minnesota 24-17 on the west coast. Unfortunately, it looks like they may have suffered a serious blow to their chances this year, as it's being reported that Nate Kaeding will miss the entire season with a torn ACL.
Jason LaCanfora of the NFL Network reports that the initial diagnosis of Kaeding's left leg is a torn ACL.
The Chargers are planning on having an MRI done Monday morning, but LaCanfora notes they are "not hopeful" that Kaeding will be able to return.
That's a tremendous blow to a team that already struggles with special teams -- Kaeding doesn't have the biggest leg in the game, but he's been tremendously accurate for his entire career, never hitting less than 80 percent of his field goals in a single season.
In fact, his 86.5 percent accuracy for his career is first overall in NFL history.
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Posted on: July 1, 2011 11:26 am
Edited on: July 1, 2011 4:12 pm
Posted by Ryan Wilson
Chargers general manager AJ Smith is known as much for his ability to identify talent and assemble a roster as he is for his sometimes stubborn disposition.
He refused to give wide receiver Vincent Jackson a new contract last offseason, and Jackson ended up holding out for the first two months of the season. When Jackson finally returned in Week 12 (he had to first serve a three-game suspension for violating the league's personal conduct policy), it was without a new contract but the Chargers were 6-5. They would eventually miss the playoffs, and although most of that was because of their dreadful defense special teams, Jackson's absence certainly didn't help.
(Edit: the commenters rightly point out that it was special teams -- not the defense -- that cost the Chargers a shot at the playoffs last season. My brain was thinking "special teams" but my fingers typed "defense." To hammer home the point, Football Outsiders ranked San Diego offense fourth, their defense seventh, and special teams ... 32nd.)
In 2005, Smith placed Pro Bowl tight end Antonio Gates on the "roster exempt" list for the season opener against the Cowboys because Gates wouldn't sign his one-year exclusive rights free-agent offer of $380,000. The two sides eventually came to a resolution but not before San Diego lost to Dallas. The most famous example of Smith vs. uncooperative Chargers player came the year before, when the team selected Eli Manning with the first-overall pick of the 2004 draft even though Manning said he'd rather sit out the season than play in San Diego.
Smith, undeterred, drafted Manning anyway. About an hour after Manning stood on stage with that "Did this really just happen?" look on his face while holding a Chargers jersey, Smith traded him to the Giants for Philip Rivers, and draft picks that would later become Shawne Merriman, Nate Kaeding and Roman Oben.
Despite the Chargers getting the most out of that trade, all most people remember is that Manning and the Giants won a Super Bowl in 2007. In a recent interview with Sporting News, Smith talked about Rivers and Manning.
"I believe with my heart and soul that [Rivers] one day will lead the Chargers to a world championship," Smith said. “He’s a great quarterback—a phenomenal leader with great character, great work habits.”
No one disputes that. In fact, Football Outsiders ranked Rivers as the NFL's third-best quarterback in 2010, behind Tom Brady and Peyton Manning. Eli ranked 16th, behind Carson Palmer, Joe Flacco, Kyle Orton and Matt Cassel. If nothing else, it reinforces the importance of surrounding your franchise quarterback with playmakers at the skill position and a good defense.
As for how Smith feels about Manning seven years after drafting him … well, let's just say he's still a little bitter. "He was a Charger for 45 minutes and that was too much time to be a Charger, in my opinion."
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Posted on: October 21, 2010 2:07 pm
Edited on: October 21, 2010 2:07 pm
Chris Cooley took part in a few light drills on Wednesday. Cooley suffered a concussion Sunday night against the Colts.
Posted on: July 5, 2010 3:38 pm
Edited on: July 5, 2010 3:58 pm
Josh Katzowitz and Andy Benoit resume their debate, this time taking a look at the top five kickers in the NFL.
Josh Katzowitz’s top five
5. Sebastian Janikowski, Raiders
4. Matt Prater, Broncos
3. David Akers, Eagles
2. Stephen Gostkowski, Patriots
1. Nate Kaeding, Chargers
Kickers might get less respect from fans than other position players, but hardly anybody shares the same kind of glory as a kicker after nailing a 52-yard game winner, and hardly anybody can feel the jeers after missing an easy 31-yarder that caused his team to lose.
With that, we start with Kaeding. A little bit of the shine is off him because of the three missed field goals in the 17-14 playoff loss to the Jets last year. But he’s still the most accurate kicker in NFL history (87.2 percent coming into this season). Gostkowski took over for former Patriots K Adam Vinatieri, and he made people instantly forget how good Vinatieri was for New England. Need proof? Check out this Facebook group (ignore the fact there are only 45 members).
You might be averse to 12-year veteran Akers, because people still remember his slump from 2005-07. But last year, he had one of the best seasons of his career and was the best kicker in the league. Prater has bounced around the league a bit, but he found his footing last year. You might not like my Janikowski pick. But he’s got one of the league’s strongest legs and he’s coming off the most accurate season of his career.
Andy Benoit’s top five
5. Olindo Mare, Seahawks
4. Rian Lindell, Bills
3. David Akers, Eagles
2. Ryan Longwell, Vikings
1. Rob Bironas, Titans
Regarding Kaeding being the “most accurate kicker in NFL history”, is it me or have there been about 10 different “most accurate kickers in NFL history” this era? Anyway, I can’t put Kaeding on the list for the same reason you shouldn’t.
Many people forget that Janikowski was a first-round draft pick. In that sense, he has been an underachiever. Gostkowski doesn’t have enough pressure kicks to his name yet. My first memory of Prater is when he admitted to a lack of confidence in 2008. Maybe he got his confidence back in ’09, but I will need at least three years to shake that first memory.
As for the guys on my list, I went with experience. Mare is a booming kickoff specialist - plus he made his last 21 field goals in ’09. Lindell is consistent even in the Buffalo wind (I know, I’m re-using my Brian Moorman analysis). Akers doesn’t quite have the range he once had, but he’s still reliable under pressure. Longwell was 26/28 last year. Bironas is the best long distance kicker in the game (5/6 from 50+ yards last season, range up to 60 yards).
It’s surprising that we only have one kicker who made both of our lists. I thought about putting Bironas on my list, but I just couldn’t pull the trigger. Lindell might be consistent, but he was pretty crappy from outside 40 yards last year (58.3 percent). Could be a fluke, I suppose, because he’s normally better than that from long range. Mare has been pretty up and down in his career, but he is coming off two fantastic seasons, so I can see your point there. Even though our lists are almost completely different, it’s hard to get too worked up about it. I like my list. I like your list. Everybody’s happy.
Andy’s final word
To me, recognizing a great kicker is like recognizing a great free throw shooter. How nervous are you when a kicker lines up to attempt a game-winning field goal against your team? In a casual, unofficial way, that gives you some indication of how great a kicker is (or how great you think he is).
(Other positions: Safety | Cornerback | 3-4 Scheme Outside Linebacker | Punter )
--Josh Katzowitz and Andy Benoit
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