The Chargers’ punter got hurt, reminding us that punters are important
We don’t give special teamers the love they deserve. Let the San Diego Chargers show us once again why we should be more nice to punters and their friends.
In the second quarter of Chargers-Patriots, Mike Scifres got hurt on a block by Brandon Bolden.
He appeared to hurt his left shoulder or his collarbone, as medical staff wrapped his upper body and secured his left arm. Although a punter is all about his legs, he needs his arms to catch and stuff, so even with an arm injury, it’s tough to play. One would have to assume he’s out for the game.
So you’ve lost your punter. Big whoop! Who cares about punters, right?
But then you remember: there’s a reason they call them “special teams.” The players that do those tasks are specialists. There aren’t many players on the team that can do the specific tasks kickers, punters, and long-snappers train all day to get good at. If one of them gets hurt during a game, there aren’t a ton of contingency scenarios.
The Chargers should know: In 2012 the Raiders lost their long snapper against the Chargers, and the Chargers got to watch a team unable to properly punt or kick field goals crumble to its knees.
Next on the depth chart at punter was Nick Novak, the Chargers’ kicker. He also served as his team’s punter in high school, but he graduated from high school in 2000. He probably hasn’t regularly practiced the proper motion for punting in over a decade. His first punt wasn’t a shank, but it only went 27 yards:
Next up at holder was Eric Weddle, who was seen practicing on the sideline:
Laces out! Nice! Holding’s a relatively simple task compared to some of the stuff guys do on the football field, but it requires precision, and if you flub it just a bit. Weddle served as the holder his senior year at Utah, so he’s done it before, but like Novak with punting, he probably hasn’t thought about doing it in a very long time.
The Chargers only lead by one at the half. We’ll see if poor field position off punts or screwy holds end up costing them.