The San Diego Chargers made a surprising roster cut as the team released veteran kicker Nick Novak in favor of rookie kicker Josh Lambo. The eight year veteran had played four seasons with the Chargers and appeared in 60 games for the Bolts. Novak was remarkably consistent but in the end that did not save his job.
The move surprised most Chargers fans, but in reality Novak was horrible last year on kickoffs. The Chargers constantly gave away field position as he continually failed to get the ball even into the end zone. On field goals within his range he was very clutch, but ultimately the team choose to go with a younger leg.
Novak did not have a touch back after week eight last season and finished dead last in touch backs in 2013. The Chargers clearly needed to address that issue. Novak had shown improved leg strength this preseason but that was not enough to fend off the impressive young rookie.
Josh Lambo, an undrafted free agent out of Texas A & M showed a big leg in the preseason and even kicked a game winning field goal for the Chargers in week 2 against the Arizona Cardinals. He also his a 53 yard FG right before half that game.
Lambo also converted his first three kickoff attempts into touch backs during the preseason. His salary of $435,000 opposed to Novak’s $1.6 million was also another deciding factor in moving in another direction.
Lambo has an interesting background as he was drafted in 2008 to play MLS soccer as a goal keeper. He signed and played sparsely on lower club teams, but chose to go back to school. He enrolled at Texas A & M and walked on to the football team. Winning the starting job and kicking very consistently for the Aggies.
— Michael Gehlken (@UTgehlken) September 5, 2015
The Chargers are rolling the dice with this call. Novak wasn’t horrible. Sure, he could not reach the end zone on kickoffs, but he was very clutch in his Chargers career. Novak ends his Chargers tenure 74-83 (89.2 %) on field goal attempts and was perfect on all 115 of his extra point conversions.
Coach Mike McCoy evaluated the young Lambo and he made the decision that he could easily handle the duties of being an everyday kicker in the National Football League. Chargers fans will just have to wait and see if the right choice was made. Lambo will get plenty of support, so he should achieve all the goals he sets forth for himself.