If someone said, “The Chargers needed to fix their special teams unit ahead of the upcoming season”, you could easily persuade me the quote was from either right now or any other year during the past decade. It’s been a problem for as long as some fans can remember.
So with that in mind, it should com as no surprise that kicker Alex Kessman — one of the team’s 10 undrafted free agents signed this year — was named by Bleacher Report’s Brent Sobleski as the UDFA most-likely to make the team’s initial 53-man roster.
“The Los Angeles Chargers fielded an embarrassingly bad special teams unit last season,” says Sobleski. “They bungled, botched and booted multiple opportunities to clinch victories. As such, new special teams coordinator Derius Swinton II knows things must change.”
“You evaluate first, then you get with each other and they come in and you implement your system around them,” Swinton told reporters. “The cupboard is not empty here.”
Maybe not. But change could be a very good thing. Michael Badgley ranked 27th in field-goal accuracy last season. He finished dead last among kickers with 30 or more attempts. As such, incoming kicker Alex Kessman may be one of the Chargers’ biggest offseason moves. Kessman left Pitt as the Panthers’ third all-time leading scorer and set an NCAA record with a 66.7 percent success rate for kicks over 50 yards.
Badgley was fine under 50 yards in 2020. However, his long-range consistency was nowhere near where it needs to be for the Chargers to be a successful, well-rounded team in 2021. Kessman’s ability to make those deep kicks is a real game-changer. It remains to be seen if he can produce the same at the next level, but if he does, Kessman may be the answer to one of the team’s long-standing, incredibly-frustrating problems.
Now for today’s links.
Brandon Staley talks 2021 schedule (Chargers.com)
Check out photos of the Chargers rookies getting fitted for their gear (Chargers.com)
Ranking the QBs on the Chargers 2021 schedule (Bolt Beat)
Chargers-Patriots named one of the most-intriguing matchups of the year (Charger Wire)
Seven reasons why the Browns are a Super Bowl contender (ESPN)
The Chiefs acquired CB Mike Hughes from the Vikings for a sixth-round pick (ESPN)
Tom Brady could break the career passing yards record in New England (Pro Football Talk)
Power-ranking every NFL defense (Bleacher Report)
Rookie minicamps for 29 teams start today (NFL.com)
Nine teams with the most-favorable schedule in 2021 (NFL.com)