COSTA MESA, Calif. -- The Los Angeles Chargers made yet another change at kicker, promoting Travis Coons from the practice squad and placing incumbent Nick Novak on injured reserve, ending his season.
It’s an unfortunate fate for Novak, who wanted to be part of the chase for a postseason spot with the Chargers for a second time. However, it’s understandable why coach Anthony Lynn made the decision to go with Coons.
The Chargers' 63 percent field-goal success rate is worst in the NFL. The Chargers also are giving up 25.5 yards per kick return, fifth-worst in the NFL.
But ultimately, this comment by Lynn earlier this week foreshadowed Novak’s eventual departure: The Chargers (5-6) needed certainty their kicker would be healthy on game day.
“I don’t want to go into this game and be one and done,” Lynn said, alluding to the fact that Novak could not finish the Thanksgiving Day victory over the Dallas Cowboys due to his back issue.
So the Chargers will start their third full-time kicker this season, and fourth used in a game if you include punter Drew Kaser.
Let’s take a look at a two questions from this week’s mailbag.
Which three impending free-agent players do you expect to be the highest priority for the team to extend/re-sign? #Chargers— Paul Maland (@PaulMalandNFL) December 1, 2017
@eric_d_williams: The Chargers have 14 players scheduled to become unrestricted free agents; a few jump out that the team should want to bring back. Free safety Tre Boston certainly bet on himself during the offseason and won.
Released by the Carolina Panthers in a salary-cap savings move in March, Boston signed a one-year, $900,000 deal. He’s tied for third in the NFL with four interceptions and fourth on the Chargers with 56 combined tackles.
At 25, Boston should draw interest throughout the league after his productive 2017 if he hits free agency in March, and the Chargers should do their best before then to retain him.
Offensive lineman Kenny Wiggins also has done a nice job of carving out a niche as the Chargers' right guard, and has proved over the past two years that he’s a starting player in this league. But with Forrest Lamp set to come back from an ACL knee injury, it will be interesting to see what the interest level is on Wiggins.
The same goes for veteran guard Matt Slauson, who turns 32 in February. Slauson was put on season-ending injured reserve after suffering a torn triceps, but he’s been a leader in the Chargers' offensive-line room and could still be an asset if brought back.
The other player who caught my eye is safety Adrian Phillips, who has been an impact player in substitution packages defensively. Phillips is the type of role player good teams try to keep around to maintain continuity.
Tight end Antonio Gates will be an unrestricted free agent, but at 37 he might be looking at retirement at the end of his 15th season.
And Jerry Attaochu, a second-round selection by the Chargers in the 2014 draft, can’t get on the field on a consistent basis and likely will be looking for a new home as an unrestricted free agent. The Oakland Raiders, with former Chargers coordinator John Pagano now running that defense, might make some sense.
Any chance Geremy Davis will be active and get some snaps if Mike Williams can't go? I want to see what the kids got and why they chose him over the other 10 receivers we had in Training Camp.— Bolt Blood (@bolt_blood) December 1, 2017
At 6-foot-3 and 211 pounds, Davis is a big, physical receiver who can also contribute on special teams. Davis had nine receptions for 68 yards in preseason and made some impressive catches in practice during training camp.
He also was very productive in college, finishing with 165 catches for 2,292 receiving yards at Connecticut.