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The Chargers Kicker Competition Just Got Interesting

Undrafted rookie free agent kicker Josh Lambo announced himself as a candidate for the Chargers kicking job with a standout performance against the Arizona Cardinals Saturday.

Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

When I first heard the rumblings coming out of Chargers Camp that there was a legitimate battle for the Chargers kicking job, I dismissed them.

An inherent distrust of any and all undrafted free agent kickers and the fact that Nick Novak, the Chargers' kicker for the last four seasons, has missed a total of just nine kicks in the last three years led me to that conclusion.

These rumblings were mostly based off of the fact that Josh Lambo, ostensibly this year's camp leg, regularly kicked the ball out of the end zone while Novak delivers kickoffs to the 5-yard line on his best day.

Even so, you don't trade in a proven product like Novak, for a guy who can kick a field goal 60 yards, albeit 10 yards to the left of the upright.

Big leg kickers are like big-armed quarterbacks. It's easy to fall in love with rare, freakish ability. But far too often you end up with the likes of Wade Richey, when you should've just held on to John Carney.

Of course, then I saw Lambo kick the ball against the Cardinals. The former MLS goalie and rookie out of Texas A&M nailed all three of his kicks Saturday, including a game winning 47-yard field goal.

What's prompted my change of heart isn't just that Lambo made all of his kicks against Arizona, but rather the situations in which he made them. And the fact that Novak bounced an extra-point off of the left upright, certainly didn't hurt.

His first was a 53-yarder at the end of the first half, which is fairly difficult kick - both mentally and physically - for a kicker, but one that a player looking for a full-time job should be able to knock home with ease. Lambo did just that, sending the ball comfortably straight through the uprights.

His next, a 43-yarder did the same, and gave the Chargers a 10-point lead early in the 4th quarter. It should also be noted that Novak appeared to injure himself on an extra-point attempt following Dreamius Smith's go-ahead 1-yard touchdown run in the 3rd quarter.

The final kick, and most impressive of the three, was of course the game-winner from 47 yards out. It came from the right hash and Lambo calmly sent it down the middle with plenty of room to spare. Sure, you could argue that it was just a kick in a meaningless preseason game, what pressure could there be?

But if you're telling me that there's no pressure in saving two teams, the hundred or so people still at University of Phoenix Stadium, and the fans like you and me falling asleep on the couch on a perfectly good Saturday night, from that punishment normally reserved for those poor souls trapped in the ninth circle of hell known as preseason overtime football then you truly are a glutton for punishment.

Any player that can stave off more preseason football, deserves a chance to make an NFL roster.

And I guess it doesn't hurt that Josh Lambo can actually kick the ball, too.