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Kaeding extends range

Posted Aug 25, 2011

The NFL’s most accurate kicker of all-time wants to become even more effective by concentrating on field goals longer than 50 yards this offseason.

SAN DIEGO – Nate Kaeding is the most accurate kicker in NFL history, making 86.5 percent of his regular-season field goal attempts. The two-time Pro Bowler is ahead of former Colts and Cowboys kicker Mike Vanderjagt by percentage points.

That’s why it’s impressive that Kaeding appears capable of improving a good bit. He made all 12 field goal attempts during two open training camp practices staged at Qualcomm Stadium and is 3-of-3 this preseason, including a make of 53 yards against Dallas.

“This has been probably the best camp that I’ve (ever) had. Just the day-to-day consistency and everything,” Kaeding said. “That’s kind of what you want is to continue to get better and better and to improve. I’m feeling really comfortable out there. I just think it’s a natural carry-over from the good work I was able to put in this spring and summer.”

Last year, Kaeding made 23-of-28. Of the five misses, one occurred during a groin injury that forced him to miss three games. Three others came on tries of 50 yards or longer.

“One of the good things about kicking is you have that immediate feedback,” Kaeding said. “After each year you kind of take an assessment of how the previous year went. You look at some things you’d like to improve upon.”

Entering his eighth season in the NFL, logic says it would be a challenge for Kaeding to improve physically. He’s already got first-team and second-team All-Pro seasons. But by focusing on extending his range, Kaeding enters the third preseason game even better than he was last year.

Head Coach Norv Turner said he has no concerns about Kaeding’s range and said Kaeding always has been able to hit from distance, citing a 57-yarder in ’08 and a 52-yard game-winner in ’09.

“His range has been outstanding (his entire career). He’s an outstanding kicker. He’s got great accuracy from all distances and I’ve got a lot of confidence in him,” Turner said.

Kaeding is 10-of-19 for his career on attempts of at least 50 yards, including 1-of-4 in 2010. He was far more accurate from that distance in training camp this year. Good health may be a factor, but Kaeding attributes it to focus.

“One of my points of emphasis over the offseason was working on those longer field goals. Just feeling more comfortable out there, kicking a lot more of them,” Kaeding said. “Just to be able to stretch that range out a little bit and gain a little more consistency from farther out. Statistically and naturally you’re going to miss more field goals the farther out you go. That’s just part of the game. But you also want to be able to make as many as you can.”

Kaeding kicked nothing but 50-plus yard field goals for three consecutive weeks this offseason, intending to continually challenge himself and get out of his comfort zone until he felt confident. Assuming status quo for the next two-and-a-half weeks, San Diego’s kicker will enter the regular season ready to blast some long field goals and take advantage of the new rule that places kickoffs on the 35-yard line.

BIZARRE STREAK: Opposing kickers have not missed a field goal against the Chargers in 26 consecutive games including preseason and the playoffs.

Dallas kicker Nick Folk missed a 42-yard field goal against San Diego on Dec. 13, 2009, the last miss against the Bolts.

Opponents are 29-of-29 in field goal attempts since, including 19 consecutive regular-season games without a miss, the longest current streak in the NFL. Before the 2010 season, the last team to not allow a missed field goal during an entire regular season was Miami in 2005.

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