At the end of last season every San Diego Chargers fan in the country had a reason to want to wring Nate Kaeding’s neck. Kaeding, who has established himself as the most accurate regular-season kicker ever in the NFL, missed three field goals against the Jets in the divisional playoffs that cost them the game and their season. Chargers fans had high hopes heading into the playoffs as they were on an eleven game winning streak, but Kaeding’s inability to perform in the clutch caused them to grumble. Normally, I would say that blaming the kicker for losing a game is a “cop out”, but Chargers fans had good reason to be mad at him, as well as the rest of the team for their ten penalties and numerous dropped passes. He is a victim of his own success and that is rather unfortunate.
The Chargers have become so accustomed for his near-perfect accuracy that once he fails it is such a surprise that it catches everyone off-guard. This offseason, he has spent a good amount of time rehabbing a pulled groin suffered during the Pro Bowl and he is just now able to start kicking again. Kaeding’s health has been a cause of concern for the Chargers this offseason so they signed Nick Novak to come in and compete for the starting job. Kaeding enjoys a challenge and is very optimistic about this season. He is very eager to go out and prove that he has turned the page on the bitter end to last season.
Nate Kaeding joined XX Sports Radio in San Diego to talk about how his health is, what the offseason has been like for him and whether it has been a short or long offseason, and how he goes about dealing with an offseason like this one.
What it is like to be back around the team in mini camp:
“It is good to be back. Starting to turn the page and getting ready for the 2010 season and it is good to be around the guys again getting back to work and meeting some of the new rookies and get to put a few good months in here and get ready for that Monday night game down in Kansas City.”
His thoughts on some of the new additions to the team:“They seem pretty good. I don’t haven’t gotten a chance to meet a whole lot of them yet. As a kicker we are always kind of off on the sideline anyway, but it seems like a good group of guys and obviously with AJ and his staff they do an outstanding job of getting high character guys in here as well. It seems like a great group and it seems like they are meshing pretty well so far.”
How he is feeling these days:
“The health is good. I was able to kick the first time today pretty much since I hurt my leg down in Miami at the Pro Bowl. It felt pretty good and I am looking forward to being back to full strength and working on my game here In the next few months.”
When he thinks he is going to be back at full strength:
“Pretty optimistic with the way that things went today so I am hoping just to get the green light from the training staff here this weekend and be able to move full speed ahead to put together a great plan, deliberate practice plan here in June, July and August, and I am getting myself ready kicking the ball straight again and ready to go when the season gets started.”
What the offseason has been like for him and whether it has been a short or long offseason:
“It would have been a lot better if I would have made a field goal in the playoffs, it would have been a lot more enjoyable but that is the nature of the beast for me. I play a humbling position at a humbling game and you have to be able to ride out some of these tough spots and bad games just as you have to have a straight head when you are kicking the ball well. I am optimistic and excited about getting out and helping this team win some football games come here in September.”
How he goes about dealing with an offseason like this one:
“It hasn’t been too incredibly bad. You just go about your life and work. You just dedicate yourself like I have to rehabbing and going. It is not like the skies fall and the world is coming to an end. I mean you just go about your business and work really hard at what you do. I enjoy doing that. That is part of working on my craft and trying to get better at what I do and that is what I am dedicating myself to right now is just working on my game trying to get better, improving. It is a constant challenge for any athlete, even an athlete at this level. So you just go about your business and get ready to help the team win starting in Kansas City.”
Tags: Chargers expect more out of Keding, Chargers lost to Jet in playoffs, missed three field goals in the playoffs last year, Nate Kaeding, Nate Kaeding has been rehabbing his pulled groin, Norv Turner, San Diego Chargers kicker, singlehandedly lost the playoff game last year