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Thursday, February 23, 2012
Expect kicking competition for Chargers

By Bill Williamson

INDIANAPOLIS -- Don’t expect a quick resolution to the San Diego Chargers' kicking competition in 2012.

Nate Kaeding and Nick Novak are under contract, and I believe we will see them compete during training camp and the preseason. If both remain healthy, we might not know who he kicker will be until rosters are finalized in early September.

San Diego general manager A.J. Smith was unwilling to speculate about what the team would do at kicker, and didn’t indicate he’d be in any hurry to make a decision.

Why should he?

He has two quality kickers under contract. What if a player is hurt during the offseason or in camp? If Smith makes a decision now and the player he keeps gets hurt, the other kicker likely will not be available. This way, the Chargers can control the situation and choose the best kicker after the preseason.

Kaeding suffered a torn ACL in Week 1. Novak was signed and performed well for the rest of the season. Because of Kaeding’s success prior to the 2011 season and Novak’s performance last season, I think both players deserve the chance to win the job.