Chargers Place Special Teams on Hold(er)

Bolts will have a new member of their special teams units

For more than a decade, one person has been involved more Chargers field goal attempts than anyone else. That man is punter Mike Scifres.

He was the holder, and one of the most important parts of a successful kick. If the spot is bad or the snap is dropped, things go haywire awfully fast. But now Scifres has been released. The guy who was his backup, safety Eric Weddle, is also gone.

So the Bolts will have a brand new man setting up kicker Josh Lambo’s field goal tries. He’s completely unfamiliar to everyone with the organization … except Josh Lambo.

“I’ve held all my college career,” said 6th round pick Drew Kaser, the rookie punter who is expected to earn the punting and holding jobs. “I held during 2013 with Josh.”

Yes, Kaser and Lambo have a history together. Both played at Texas A&M and stayed in touch after the latter landed in San Diego with the Chargers last year.

“Josh is one of my closest friends,” said Kaser, a sentiment shared by Lambo. “To have the duo back in college like that is special but to have it in the pros it’s unheard-of.”

As a rookie last year Lambo made 26 of 32 kicks. He showed plenty of leg for the job but was occasionally sporadic (as rookies can be). Kaser says he’s here to do some multi-tasking.

“Part of my job is to help him keep his with holding. The holding game and punting are what I’ve been working very hard on.”

One thing that will help is having long-snapper Mike Windt to work with. Windt has been ranked as one of the most accurate long-snappers in the NFL by the statistical website Pro Football Focus. He’ll help greatly, but will have to go through an adjustment period, as well.

“Mike’s a great guy,” said Kaser. “He really is. Great snapper, even better guy. He’s worked with one guy [Scifres] his entire career here. We’re trying to fix the little bugs right now. He’s so used to snapping to one guy and I hold a little bit differently, my stance is a little bit different, so it’s taking us a couple of days to get the kinks out. We’re getting a lot better at it and we’ve got a couple months before training camp gets here to really iron things out and be perfect on it.”

Between 2002 and 2014 there were 2,668 NFL games played. By far the most common margin of victory was three points. In fact, 15.7% of games ended with a team winning by three points and 22.6% of them were decided by three points or fewer.

In 2015 the Chargers were involved in four games decided by three points. They went 1-3. So it makes a whole lot of sense to be as good on the field goal unit as you can possibly be. Losing a seasoned pro like Scifres is certainly not ideal but if familiarity with an old friend is able to help Lambo, the Chargers might be making a wise decision.

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