Nate Kaeding San Diego Chargers Diary

Many discount the need for a solid kicking game. It isn't until your team is down by two and attempting a field goal from fifty yards out that the importance is truly seen. But the kicking game is more than that. It is the accumulation of yards throughout a Sunday afternoon. Special teams is, after all, one-third of the game. The San Diego Chargers finally grasped the concept and brought in Nate Kaeding to alleviate the kicking woes of the past.

Out of the University of Iowa, Nate Kaeding is one of the rare finds, a placekicker worthy of a first day selection.

When the San Diego Chargers made the trade that sent Eli Manning to New York and in return got Philip Rivers and a third round pick this year, Kaeding's fate was officially sealed. The Bolts were very high on Kaeding entering the draft and the extra third provided the ammunition they needed.

It is rare that an opportunity comes along where a team can cement a top kicker for the next decade and the Chargers and their fans have to view it as a coup.

And for Kaeding – the day was obviously a success.

"It was fun," Kaeding said beaming. "It was exciting. You sit around for two or three months not knowing what is going to happen. To have it work out the way it did it was an exciting day for myself and my family. We were awful excited to end up where we are at. We could not ask for a better situation."

Everyone has been in an interview at some point. For those that have been on that side of the fence, the interviewee is also seeing if he is the right fit for a company. In the draft, there is no such chance. A player is selected and his rights are awarded to an NFL franchise.

But there can surely be favorites.

"I didn't really do a whole of scouting per say," Kaeding said of his pre-draft efforts. "Just some teams I knew that were after spots and the kind of need there was. We need going into the draft that I would end up in one of three or four places. Just so happened to be the team at the top of my list."

Thirty two spots potentially open and Kaeding got the situation he deemed best.

The reason why he is so excited is Steve Christie, the Chargers quasi-kicker the past few seasons, was not re-signed. The only other kicker on the roster, Mackenzie Hoambrecker, is unproven and does not come with the accolades that Kaeding has garnered.

Another guy who has to be happy is Mike Scifres. Scifres came into the offseason as the punter and kickoff specialist. Now it appears that Scifres will get a chance to focus solely on his punting duties as he replaces a legend in Darren Bennett, the Aussie who solidified the position for ten years before moving on to Minnesota this offseason.

In essence, they will each have enough on their plates and dividing the job up evenly will help.

"Ideally that is the way a lot of special teams coaches look at it," Kaeding said of the roles. "If you have a punter who can punt and hold and a placement guy who can do kickoffs and field goals…"

They have that and more now. Scifres is a second year player and Kaeding a rookie. The two are on the cusp of revitalizing their respective positions.


Nate Kaeding will join us through the offseason for a diary of camp, telling us all the little nuances that a kicker must go through and perhaps some insight into the rest of the activities.

Denis Savage can be reached at

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