Bolts’ Drew Kaser moving from outhouse to penthouse
It is not very often that I would take the time to write about an NFL punter, and if you told me last year that I would be writing about Drew Kaser, I would have told you it was because he was being cut, waived or released. There have been some great punters over the years, but few worth writing about. The NFL has seen players like Ray Guy who was the first punter who made it fun to count hang time. There was Shane Lechler who was so good that one could consider him an offensive weapon. Even the Chargers have had their share of great punters. We can’t forget the legendary punts of Mike Scifres and Darren Bennett. But no punter has been the story that current LA Chargers punter Drew Kaser has been, despite his short career in the league.
Is the story behind Kaser’s rise to glory because of is 47.8 yards per punt average? Not really. Even though only Ollie Cordill of the 1967 San Diego Chargers has a better average (48.3 ypp). By the way, Ollie only punted the ball three times.
Is the story that Kaser is only in his second season and already making headlines with punts that pin opponents back inside the one? I guess that is part of it.
To me, the story is that just a season ago, most Chargers fans wanted to run this kid out-of-town. It’s not that his numbers were terrible, on paper. His gross average per punt was a respectable 46.3 yards. It was his knack for shanking punts at the most inopportune time. It seemed like every time Chargers fans needed him to pin a team back, he would either shank it, or kick a line drive that could easily be returned. His inconsistency was a real concern for fans, coaches and teammates alike.
It appears, here in 2017, things have changed. The second-year punter has been an offensive weapon for the Bolts. He has raised his gross average to 50.3 yards and has consistently pinned opponents inside the 20 yard line. In fact, he already has 13 punts inside the 20. That is just five fewer than all of last season.
Against the Broncos in Week 7, Kaser kicked what some are calling the best punt in NFL history. While holding a modest 14 point lead, early in the third quarter, the Chargers were forced to punt from their own 30 yard line. It was reasonable to expect Kaser to boot it down to the Broncos 20 and see if the coverage team could keep the returner from busting a long return. At best, you might hope that Kaser gets a hold of one and lands it at the 10. All Drew Kaser did was punt the ball, on the fly, to the 6” line. The ball bounced just short of the goal line. It went straight up, bounced again, and was downed by Austin Ekeler inside the one. Simply amazing.
Should we be erecting a statue of Drew Kaser outside of the StubHub Center? It’s a little too early for that. After all, he has honestly only shined for less than half of a season. But that doesn’t mean that what he has done shouldn’t be enjoyed and respected. If as many fans celebrated his great punts as those who bashed him for his bad, he would be a sure Pro Bowl candidate in 2017.
Unfortunately, many of us like to complain about the bad and say we expected the good. I say, if you’re going to rip the kid, like I did last year, give him credit when he proves you wrong.
Well, Mr. Kaser, here is your due credit.
Now don’t screw it up!
**Featured image credit to Golfdigest.com