When Chargers punter Drew Kaser was born, the nurses in the hospital gave him a nickname.
"Mellow Fellow," they called him.
"I didn’t cry as a baby," Kaser explained after practice Monday. "I was even-keeled, I was relaxed, I wasn't making a big ruckus . I was just going with the flow."
The persona has served him well, particularly in football, where field position can make or break a game.
"That's what you have to be at this level," Kaser said. "You have to be even-keeled. You can't have the highs and the lows. You can't be on a roller-coaster. You've gotta be on a straight path and if you have a bad punt, you have a bad punt. You have to move on and make the next one even better."
Kaser -- the Chargers' sixth-round draft pick -- is now the team's official punter, as the Chargers today waived Kasey Redfern, who's been competing with Kaser in training camp.
"It was a surprise," Kaser said. "I wasn't expecting it. We were in competition, and Kasey came down and told me what was up. I was a little sad for him --- you know, it's the name of the game, but we were in great competition and that's what makes you better. I’m sad to see him leave, but at the same time, I've got to do what I do, and I've got to compete with myself, set goals, and come out everyday and challenge myself and become better."
With the team's first preseason game Saturday in Tennessee, it's time to start "putting together the puzzle," said head coach Mike McCoy.
"It was one of those deals where, talking to [special teams coordinator] Craig Aukerman and Tom [Telesco], we sat down and said, 'This is the direction we want to head in.'
"I like his leg," McCoy added. "We're very pleased with what he's done so far."
Now that the job is officially his, Kaser will get every rep in practice and the preseason games. The workload will not only give him more experience, but allow him to build chemistry with long snapper Mike Windt and kicker Josh Lambo -- although Lambo will take less time, as the two were teammates at Texas A&M.
"They're great guys," Kaser said. "Windt been a huge help to me. He's a seven year veteran, he comes out here everyday and he's a true professional. He's one of the best in the business at what he does, and he's been in the game for so long that he knows little tidbits that he can help me with every single day. I feel like every single day that I come out here, I'm improving so much more than I did the previous day."
Kaser, 23, said there's been a little bit of a learning curve making the jump from college to NFL -- but not terribly; after all, in his words: "Punting the ball, nothing really changes" -- but the focus, as always, is on hard work and consistency.
"I just come out here every single day and I get to work, whether it be in the weight room or on the field -- coming out early, doing extra work, staying afterwards, doing work, and just having the right mentality," Kaser said. "The name of the game is consistency. It really comes down to how consistent you can be. Every position that's way, but especially punter and kicker. So I'm just coming out here, being as consistent as I can be, and just improving on that every day."
It seems, at least for now, Mellow Fellow has found his team.
**The Chargers hired Fred Graves as their senior offensive assistant, the team announced Monday. Graves has 39 years of coaching experience between the NFL and collegiate level and spent the last three seasons as the team's wide receivers coach.
Linebacker Denzel Perryman returned to practice Monday after being sidelined for eight days with an undisclosed injury.
"It felt great," Perryman said. "I felt pretty good. When you're sitting out you get the mental reps, which is a positive, but you want to be out there."
Perryman said he is healthy enough to play Saturday, should McCoy want him in the first preseason game.
Receivers Javontee Herndon and Travis Benjamin did not practice.
McCoy was asked Monday about the comment made by Joey Bosa's mom, Cheryl, which made national news overnight.
"I was told about the comments, but I'm very pleased with the 89 guys that are here," McCoy said. "We're going to coach the guys who are here."